Many people hard of hearing say that in conversations it sounds like people are mumbling and won’t speak up but what are the characteristics of clear speech?
Speaking with someone with hearing loss does not require a major adjustment, just a few minor changes to how you speak.
Speaking slightly slower, with more precise pronunciation, a little more volume and – most importantly – frequent pauses between phrases will improve the communication experience.
These pauses allow the listener to process what has been spoken before more is said. They do not have to be overly long but by using pauses it also brings clarity to the speech patterns, hence helping improve the hearing of what is said in the conversation.
This is especially true in noisy situations.
So if you are hard of hearing, how can you help your loved ones learn to speak more clearly?
Simply ask them to do five things when communicating with you:
You may find that most family and friends will be able to produce clear speech because it not only helps you but benefits them.
They won’t have to repeat things as often.
But be forewarned; most people will probably only be able speak clearly for a few minutes before they fall back into old ways.
It may help to work out a reminder system with your frequent communication partners.
You could agree, for example, to have a sign such as tapping your chin that is a reminder to “slow down” or “speak more clearly”.
If you have grandchildren, you could even make it a game of sorts with a secret code just for them to speak slower or clearer. Get them to practise their “Show and Tell” voice with you.
It is bound to be fun for them and a big help to you.
Here is a little poem you may want to send to your closest family and friends:
If you were to say it slowly and clear,
I’d understand you much better, my dear
If you speak louder and take time to pause,
I will shower you with my applause.
Thank you for using your best clear voice with me.
Hearing loss can result from a number of different causes, many of which are preventable.
However, loud noise is the most common cause of hearing damage.
You can improve your hearing health by making sure you avoid loud noise; remove the source of noise; remove yourself from the noise; or reduce the volume.
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