The festive season is upon us and that means most of us will be flung into social events of one sort or another over the next few weeks – work parties, children and grandchildrens’ Christmas shows, neighbourhood get-togethers, festive lunches and the like will be littering the calendar throughout December.
But for people with hearing loss all this socialising can throw up challenges which can make for an isolating or stressful experience.
Now the hearing loss charity Action on Hearing Loss has produced a series of 12 Tips for Christmas to raise awareness of how to improve your communication with people who are hard of hearing over the Christmas season.
Using these 12 tips could help you communicate better when speaking to someone with hearing loss, so everyone can enjoy Christmas.
- At busy gatherings and events, be sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
- Tap them on the shoulder or turn to face them Even if you can see someone’s wearing a hearing aid, ask them if they need to lip read you.
- When speaking, stand in good lighting, to help with lipreading. Turn your face towards them so they can easily see your lip movements. Speak clearly, not too slowly, and use normal lip movements.
- Facial expressions and gestures help. If you’re talking to one person with hearing loss and one without focus on both of them.
- Get to the point: use plain language and don’t waffle.
- Enjoy the celebrations, but keep your voice down! It’s uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout, and it can look aggressive.
- Whether you’re at home or out and about, conversation will be easiest away from loud music or noisy restaurant or bars. Spaces that have plenty of soft furnishings and lower ceilings are better.
- At Christmas lunch or get-togethers with friends, make sure the person with hearing loss gets to sit centrally, so they can lipread everyone in the group.
- If possible, try and sit at a round table – this will make it easier to see faces clearly.
- Make sure what you’re saying has been understood. If it’s not, try saying it in a different way. Don’t shout.