Hearing loss can be frustrating – not only for the person it affects, but for those around them. To improve communication in families where someone has difficulty hearing well, the Better Hearing Institute developed some helpful techniques speakers can use to talk more clearly. One of the most important tactics is to make frequent pauses while speaking, particularly between key phrases. Pausing gives the listener time to process the message as it is being spoken, instead of in a rush at the end. This is especially helpful in crowded settings or noisy environments. For instance, a speaker may put pauses in the following sentence by saying, “I’m going to the grocery store (pause) to get eggs (pause), and then I’m going (pause) to pick up (pause) my dry cleaning.” The pauses do not have to ruin the flow of a normal conversation; as long as they are brief and well-placed, the listener will be able to hear more easily.
By pausing during the aforementioned sentence, the listener is more likely to understand the entire message instead of trying to figure out “grocery store” while missing the rest of the sentence. Other techniques to remember include slowing down the rate of speech, speaking slightly louder, and taking care to speak with clarity by avoiding mumbling. The speaker does not need to exaggerate his lip movements or shout; simply using patience and speaking meaningfully will help the message get across. If you have any questions about living with someone with hearing loss, or if you are having difficulty hearing, schedule an appointment with an audiologist on your hearing care plan. Your quality of life could be dramatically improved.