Effective Communication Strategies…..
….. from Central Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat…..
….. to help you at home and in public.
If possible, keep distractions to a minimum. Background noises can be very distracting even for people with normal hearing. Ask the speaker to address you by name before talking to you. Once you are focused, you will be able to follow what they are saying much easier. Ask the speaker to stay on topic or ask about the subject matter if you think the conversation has shifted. Speak face-to-face. Visual cues are important to help with speech understanding. Avoid talking with someone who is not in the same room or while there are distracting sounds like the TV. Remember, vaulted ceilings will carry sound away and accents like chairs, carpet and curtains will absorb sound. The more distance between you and the speaker the more difficult it will be to hear and understand. Follow this rule: if you can’t see their face, don’t try to have a conversation.
If you are in a restaurant, sit at a table that is well lit and not in the center of the room or too close to a wall. Ask to be seated in an area that has the least amount of noise, or if possible, sit with your back toward the noise and face your table companion(s). Corner tables are best. If you are with a larger group, request a round table. That way you can follow the conversation and maintain visual contact with those speaking. And, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you are not sure about what is being said or the topic of the conversation, ask! Don’t give up or crawl into a shell. Family and friends will be more sensitive to direct the conversation toward you if they know you’re having difficulty hearing them. Take note: try to avoid popular restaurants during peak dining hours.
Our friend and our nemesis! You can’t hear people talking, mostly because of background sounds, so you keep turning the volume up and up and up. Right? If you want to hear speech better but reduce background sounds and at the same time maintain a consistent sound level – you need an electronic system that can do that. Quality surround sound systems with a center speaker box, sound bars and headsets are your choices. Also, most hearing instruments can now be directly linked to your TV allowing you to use your instrument’s volume control and not the one for the TV. That’s good news for your neighbors!
- In the Car
Don’t let this ruin your marriage or any friendships. Face it: this is a tough place to hear. Rule Number One
: it’s either the radio or conversation – not both! Rule Number Two
: if anyone is going to talk, the windows must be rolled up. Rule Number Three
: before engaging in conversation wait until the car is a comfortable temperature. The first thing you are going to do in the Summer or Winter is get in the car and either turn on the A/C or the Defroster and kick up the fan to the maximum setting. Wait until you can turn the fan back down before trying to have a conversation. Rule Number Four
: if you are the driver, make sure your passengers are facing you when they talk. Rule Number Five
: if you are a passenger, try to sit in the front passenger seat. If you have to sit in the back, have a pleasant conversation with the person next to you and talk to the front-seaters when you get to where you are going. The roads here in Oregon produce a high level of road noise. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid this distraction. Rule Number Six:
if you have studded tires, spare yourself the frustration of trying to have a conversation.
- Church, Meetings, Theater, Concerts
Sounds, particularly speech, don’t travel very well in large, open spaces. And, unless you are in Carnegie Hall, the acoustics will differ from one area to another and one seat to another. If you can, experiment. Move around and find the spot where you hear the best. That place is usually closest to the sound source. However, avoid sitting close to speakers but do try to figure out where the speakers are aimed when choosing your seat. If you are purchasing tickets, this is important information to know.
- Good News!!!!!
The new technology in hearing instruments not only produces a natural sound quality but helps eliminate distracting background noises. In addition, the instruments have multiple settings that can be programmed to better help you in any of the above situations with the simple push of a button. Many larger meeting facilities and theaters are going to a “loop system” that is also accessible through wireless instruments. This feature allows you to hear what is coming through the sound system and gives you the ability to control your own volume level (so you can sit wherever you like). Musicians take note: special settings are also available that will allow you to play or listen to live music without distortion and hear the notes you need to hear. Today’s hearing instrument technology has taken hearing to a whole new level. By communicating your specific needs to us, we can help you have a broader and more enjoyable hearing experience.