Talking to the HoH

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Gmld3805, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Gmld3805

    Gmld3805 Guest

    Internet search engines identify many sites that list articles and other sources on 'hard-of-hearing
    (HoH) in its various forms and the diseases' often disastrous effects on their victims, including
    suicide. There isn’t much guidance in the media for the ‘normal hearing’ in the healthcare
    world and generally on how to best speak to or otherwise coommunicate with the hearing-disabled,
    especially in a manner that what is 'said' will be reasonably well understood by the patient.

    I am an 87 years old layman who has been hearing-disabled since my middle years. Several years ago,
    guided by a retired professional speech therapist and teacher who had been formerly associated with
    a school district, I compiled a list of hints to normal-hearing persons who talk to and/or otherwise
    interact with the HoH. The 'hints' in my list are in the 'public domain.' I compile and disseminate
    them as a personal volunteer effort and not in competition with anyone else's product on the
    subject. Content of the list does not - and does not intend to - offer medical advice.

    Following are excerpts.


    The population of ‘older adults’ is growing worldwide, and many of the elderly are hearing-
    disabled. The HoH and deaf phenomena, however, affect all ages and both genders, and children too,
    everywhere. Interactions and communications within and among families, friends, students of all ages
    and their teachers, and professionals in healthcare, education, business and commerce, etc., will
    develop accordingly. It is important for the ‘normal-hearing’ person, whatever their interest,
    to understand 'how to ...' and to practice the best possible oral and other forms of one-to-one and
    group communications with the HoH. If nothing else, it's just good business. I've periodically
    updated and posted these hints to the Internet. Please pass them along to others, on-line and off-,
    who interact with hearing-disabled young, middle years and elderly, and to the hearing-disabled for
    their use toward encouraging the 'normal hearing' toward helping the hearing-disabled to understand
    what is being said to them.

    Hints and commentaries

    1. Whenever possible, face the hard-of-hearing person directly, and on the same level.

    2. Your speech will be more easily understood when you are not eating, chewing, smoking, etc.

    3. Reduce background noises when carrying on conversations -- turn down or turn off the radio, TV,
    or other noise-generating devices.

    4. Keep your hands away from your face while talking. Don’t shout. Speak slowly and distinctly.

    5. If it's difficult for the HoH person to understand you, find another way of saying the same
    thing, rather than repeating the original words. Move to a quieter location.

    6. Recognize that HoH people hear and understand less well when they are tired or ill.

    7. Do not talk to an HoH person from another room. Be sure to get the attention of the person to
    whom you will speak before you start talking.

    8. If practical, see to it that a light is not shining directly into the eyes of the HoH person.

    9. (comment) I teach nursing assistant training at a long-term care facility. Needless to say, we
    have a number of residents whose hearing is impaired. Consider the following when you speak
    directly to an HoH person:

    a. A woman's voice is often harder to hear than a man's because of the pitch. Make a conscious
    effort to lower the pitch of your voice if you are a female.

    b. If the person wears a hearing aid, make sure that it has batteries that work, that it's turned
    "on" and is clean and free from ear wax.

    c. If you know (or if it becomes evident) from which side the person hears best, talk to that side.
    The complete list (28 items and growing) is freely e-mail available upon backchannel only e-request
    to me at [email protected]

    Mike Moldeven (no spam, please)