IMG_0238Have you ever attempted to have a conversation with someone who either is not paying attention, or does not want to hear what you are saying, or just does not hear? What should you do?  How should one behave towards the one not hearing? Do you continue talking or what is going on?  Why does this seem such an embarrassment in our society?  Is it about pride? what if the person you are having trouble communicating is your wife, husband, or best friend, or even your child?

People wear glasses for helping with their sight.  We do all sorts of things to enhance our lives.  Why is this such a big problem, that can wind up with serious defensiveness, and hurt, when all the time you are just trying to communicate. Is it possibly because socially we are so accustomed to seeing glasses as a part of our lives?  Is the answer that hearing loss connotates a ageism for the one who needs the aid?

It is startling to me that many people cannot hear or have a decreased amount that they hear.  Is it embarrassment, or denial, or fear of showing that one has a hearing impairment? Is it about looks?  Hard for any of us to say! As a professional, I think it is about social norms, and ageing in our society.

As friends and relatives of people who might be hearing impaired, who probably have been told to get some help, what can we as their friends, spouses, relatives do?



Is it rude or helpful to ask your loved one if they are having a difficult time hearing you?  Psychologically, I think that the one who might be having a problem might become defensive.  Many families dance around the issue, by speaking louder, or even taking the hit, that they themselves are mumbling. Frequently, with a spouse, or someone close in the family system, in can and does wind up argumentatively.

Many of us have been frustrated with friends and loved ones who appear to be having a difficult time hearing us, or sometimes things may orally come back to us in a conversation that had nothing to do with what we were talking about. Then we repeat, and somehow, things can and do become muddled.


Some of these are good ideas with families or friends.  With people you do not know as well, this is difficult, resulting, in it being too much trouble to communicate.

Speak face to face and in good lighting

Avoid speaking from another room

Avoid speaking in competition with other noise, such as television, radio, running water…If possible turn then off

Avoid noisy restaurants and crowded areas to minimize competing background noise; pick a quieter spot to have a conversation

The hearing-impaired will rely upon visual cues to help to understand what is being said; learning to lip read is helpful……helpful if they know and realize that they have trouble hearing…

Remove visual obstructions while speaking-your hand from your face, cigaretter, or other things in and around the mouth such as moustaches, beards

Speak distinctly without slurring or mumbling,  Loved ones and friends can be accused of this one

Speak slowly and with pauses so that the information can be processed

Try to be patient with one another;  yelling is often not necessary

Try to get the person’s attention by stating his or her name first before conversing

If having difficulty despite repeating.  Try to rephrase your statement

If all else fails, write it down so that it may be read instead of heard.

The above things are usually available in offices who treat hearing impaired.

What if this is your husband or wife?  Other people including you, may be suggesting to your spouse, that they are having trouble communicating to them.  As a spouse, this can almost always cause a discussion, sometimes of denial, or ‘you are not speaking clearly.”  This is a major thing that can cause arguments.

Research indicates that the psychosocial, re:  social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of hearing loss, can and does make for an incomplete communication, which can lead to greater isolation and withdrawal from families and friends, as indicated by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D

Research also indicates that hearing loss can and does cause embarrassment, fatigues, irritability.loneliness, and most of all isolation which all results in depression and feelings of being left out.

In a family system, there is more likelihood for, misunderstanding, and a possible lowering of monthly contact with family and friends on phone and in person., Also with this misunderstanding of what was said by the one who has the hearing loss, can and does result in arguments.


You may have a bitter argument, with your friend, or loved one re: “You are not hearing me.”  I have heard this before.  This is a very sensitive subject, as the person involved, probably already knows that he or she has a hearing problem.  Be it friend or spouse, who has the courage to have the conversation, needs to be supportive, and have readied information to talk about.  Bottom line, The loved one or friend with the hearing loss, needs a simple appointment with a doctor specializing in hearing.  They will run tests, and check mechanically and physically what is going on.  They will then tell them the possibilities of what can turn things around.  For the hearing impaired, it can turn the entire world they live in around.

There are all kinds of different hearing devices.  The loved one or friend needs to be educated on how to speak with a hearing impaired person differently, vs. someone who has good hearing.  It takes patience, work, and empathy for the one going thru the process of acceptance that they have a hearing problem in the first place.  They may feel psychologically that is a sign of weakness, or sad, or less than, or again as I have mentioned above, feel that wearing an implement shows that one is ageing.  In reality, it is none of that.  It takes knowledge, and a willingness to be better than they are which will activate a more social, and familial happiness with friends and family.

As our society changes and grows older, we need to get accustomed to dealing and seeing different issues with society.  We need not judge, ignore, or leave out the hearing impaired, or for that matter anyone who is vulnerable with a disability, be it temporary or long term.

Final note:  Do you know anyone who you think is listening, and something in the communication comes out garbled, or on a different subject, or changed subject?  Is this about someone hearing you, or beware is the someone hearing you, but not LISTENING, and something different comes out altogether….This is different issue altogether, and beware……DI