By Marla Dougherty 7/1/11
This session was packed with so much information it was hard to take notes fast enough. Although I have been practicing some of the strategies for years, I came away with half a dozen new techniques to try.
Scott Bally, Ph.D. and Bonnie O’Leary, certified hearing loss support specialist and Director of Community Outreach Programs at NVRC led the program. To begin, Scott pointed out it is not only important to maximize our hearing with good hearing aids, but we also need to maximize our visual input. If you use eye glasses, be sure to wear them because they will help with speech reading and visual clues.
Scott went on to say that communication situations can be complex so we need to be open to trying new approaches. Hearing loss can be compounded by other factors and we need to learn what to change but not get frustrated over things we cannot change.
The workplace was the focus of the program, and Scott and Bonnie put together straightforward strategies and solutions that can work in any job scenario. The techniques are sensible and easy to put into practice.
As the person with a hearing loss, we need to decide whose problem it is when communication breaks down. We may experience feelings such as frustration, anger, self-pity and withdrawal, and our co-workers may experience the same reactions. By sharing our feelings and trying to take the other person’s perspective, we can develop solutions together.
Bonnie gave excellent examples of key phrases to use to open the communication door. She suggested letting people know what makes you feel excluded or left out and what they can do to help. Also let them know you appreciate it when they speak slowly and face you while speaking.
Scott shared these strategies for success in meetings:
Decide what your communication needs will be in each situation. Will you need to arrive early to sit in the space with the best visual advantage?
Ask excellent questions
Change your environment or change environments
Develop repair strategies