Some specific coping strategies for hearing loss include:
- Adjusting the Environment
- Assertiveness Skills
Adjusting the Environment
In order to hear and communicate hard of hearing people need:
- A quiet environment, with little or no background noise.
- A well lighted area, with the light on the other person’s face, to facilitate speechreading.
- Preferred seating in any group situation, to enable seeing the faces of others, and any visual presentations of the dialogue, or other materials [LCD projector, videos, print interpreting].
- Hearing aids and assistive listening systems in good working order and accessible to their particular need.
Some of the strategies that you can use, and teach to others, to adjust the environment are:
- Arrive early at meetings, to get preferred seating. If you are expecting guests in your own home and want to reserve a certain seat, try putting something such as a magazine, or other object on the chair, so no one else sits in it before you have time to sit down.
- Suggest a meeting site which you know to be quiet, or ask to move to such a site. Ask for the background noise to be reduced, for example, music turned off, doors closed.
- Sit with your back to the light – move chairs as needed, or ask for this and be sure you explain why. Ask for additional lighting for the meeting, as needed.
- Well before the meeting, check with the person responsible for assistive listening devices to confirm that the equipment is in working order, has fresh batteries, working microphones, etc.
- If the equipment is not working for you during the meeting, inform others and stop the meeting until your needs are met.
Accomplishing many of the techniques suggested in adjusting the environment calls for a certain amount of assertiveness on the part of the hard of hearing person. Unfortunately, individuals are not always eager to distinguish themselves in this way for various reasons, particularly not wanting to inconvenience others and call attention to their hearing loss.
The speechreading courses offered at CHHA-NL recognize this need and foster assertiveness skill development in conjunction with its speechreading classes.