A while ago a friend, who is hearing impaired, was doing a “study” (for lack of a better word) for one of her college courses. The project was intended to help those with normal hearing understand more of what it’s like to be hearing impaired. The study consisted of 3 activities, which I will outline below & give examples of each activity & then summarize her findings.
Activity #1 – One person uses a set of sound plugs (to simulate a mild/moderate hearing loss). That person then picks a card (does not read it) and hands it to another member of the group. That member places the card over their mouth & reads the phrase on the card for the “hard of hearing” member to repeat.
Activity #2 – One person uses a set of sound plugs & headphones to simulate more of a moderate/severe hearing loss. The same person again picks a card & hands it to another group member to read. This time, the readers mouth is visible, allowing the “hard of hearing” group member to read lips. The reader recites the phrase on the card for the “hard of hearing” individual to repeat.
Activity #3 – Sound plugs were again used to simulate the mild/moderate loss. A card is picked from a member in another room who then makes a phone call to the “hard of hearing” individual reciting the phrase on the card.
What did the organizer of this college study find out about hearing loss? Out of the group of 6 people who were a part of the activity, the conclusions were made that when trying to communicate with hard of hearing individuals it is important to enunciate, keep your mouth visible for easier lip reading, and to try and be more sympathetic & understanding to those with hearing loss. It is also worth noting that each individual experienced different outcomes & levels of difficulty with each activity conducted.
What does this study tell us? For those of us with family members suffering from hearing loss it helps to put yourself in their shoes. Speak slowly and be sure to enunciate your words, be patient, and call us for a free hearing test … in office or in the comfort of your own home.