Stacy Sammons: When speaking to your friend or family member, loved one about their hearing loss or just about hearing loss in general, having that visual makes the understanding come through so much better.
Kathy Shaw: The other thing too I think is important is that you do not walk away from the family member or loved one. A lot of people complain or have issues with the fact that they are not looking at the person, they’re walking away from them or they’re looking out the window in a car, and it’s very hard for the person with hearing loss to be able to understand. Volume is another factor not to shout at them if they don’t understand you the first time. Rephrase the way you say it as far as more clearly.
SS: Annunciation. Opening their mouth when they talk.
KS: Stacy and I are mother and daughter. We both come from farming communities.
SS: A lot of what we see is usually a higher-frequency loss, especially in our areas being a farming community, things like that. Tractors. Noisier situations. Factory employees. Those higher frequencies are usually one of the first ones to go.
KS: High-frequency hearing loss basically is a problem that they don’t have the S’s, T’s, P’s and CH’s. So what happens is, is that they hear you but they don’t understand you.
SS: The person that you’re speaking with may be doing something else. They may be reading a book, a magazine, watching TV, so when they’re not paying attention, saying their name, getting their attention first gives them your full attention where then you can go ahead and then process what the person is saying.
KS: The one thing that the person struggles with sometimes with hearing loss is that they’re hearing all the background noise and they don’t hear the person that is right around the table with them that they want to hear or in a restaurant, or even in church. The other thing would be is to have the spouse or the loved one speak as clearly as possible or go to a quieter situation, sit in someplace in a restaurant that may be a little bit more secluded per se, or have the kids play in another room, something like that, that it’s a little bit easier.
SS: I think that’s the biggest way is to make sure that you can have somebody’s attention that you know that they’re talking to you is to be in the same room. Sometimes it’s even a struggle for somebody that does have normal hearing to hear from room to room.
KS: It’s as hard on the person with the hearing loss because they’re struggling and trying so hard to understand so that they don’t have to ask people to repeat as it is on the person who’s trying to talk to that person.
SS: That’s one of the reasons why we like to have a third-party present whether it be a spouse or a partner or a friend, somebody who can come with that person to the appointments. We usually like to see patients back within a two-week time-period. That gives the patient enough time to be able to get out and about in their own community with the amplification and then they come back in that two-week time-period and be able to have us either tweak or make fine-tuning adjustments on things that they didn’t like, things they liked, what worked out well for them and then us being able to make the programming adjustments from there.
KS: Hearing aid technology has exceeded itself as far as paring to phones and they’re very light, they’re very comfortable. It’s not the old-style hearing aids that grandpa had. It’s a friendly atmosphere, it’s not a high-pressure thing. It’s finding out where you’re at and then the rest is up to you.