Rancourt makes use of a variety of devices, including strobe lights attached to fire and smoke detectors to compensate for the high-pitched sounds she can’t hear. “I encourage individuals with hearing loss to look into the various technologies that help to improve quality of life – and most importantly, improve their access to communication,” she says.
To help listeners with hearing loss, Rancourt shares communication tips from HLAA, summarized below, which could apply to a group presentation or an audience of one:
- Emphasize the visual when audio is poor.
- Get the listener’s attention first. Face the audience directly. Spotlight your face without backlighting. Avoid noisy backgrounds and ask what you can do to facilitate communication.
- When communicating: Do not shout, but speak clearly at a moderate pace. Don’t cover your mouth, chew gum or food, or smoke while talking. Use gestures and facial expressions.
- Establish empathy. If the response seems slow, be patient. Remain positive and relaxed. Talk to – not about – the person.
Communication is a two-way street, and the association also has tips for people with hearing loss:
- Set the stage by telling others how to best talk to you and pick your best spot in terms of lighting, quiet and proximity.
- Anticipate difficult situations and plan how to minimize them.
- Pay attention to and concentrate on the speaker, without interrupting.
- Look for visual cues and ask for written cues if needed.
- Give the speaker feedback on how he or she is doing.
- Don’t bluff. Do admit when you don’t understand.
By Lisa Esposito, Staff Writer | March 3, 2017