It’s that time of year again, when you join family and friends to celebrate the holidays. But if you are hard of hearing, it might be a challenge to enjoy the hustle and bustle fully. A noisy dinner conversation can leave you exhausted by the effort spent trying to understand what everyone is saying.
With that in mind, we’d like to share some tips to help make communication easier and the season more enjoyable for everyone regardless of hearing ability. We encourage you to share these with your loved ones, so that they know how to make you feel fully included this season, and all year ’round.
Face the person to whom you are speaking
Ensure that someone with hearing loss can see your face. The visual cues will help them understand any words they might have missed.
Minimize background noise
Turn off the TV during mealtime. Lower the volume on any music playing in the background or turn it off entirely.
Make sure the room is well-lit
This makes it easier for the hard-of-hearing person to read lips and see facial expressions and body language around the room.
Get the individual’s attention before speaking
Say the name of the person to whom you are speaking first or gently tap their arm. Once you have their attention, begin speaking and you are likelier to be heard and understood.
Speak slowly and clearly
Annunciate each word and don’t speak so quickly that your words all run together.
Don’t just repeat – rephrase
If the person you are speaking to says, “What?” or otherwise indicates they didn’t hear what you said, don’t just repeat the same thing more loudly, try saying it a different way. Typically, the issue the person has understanding you is not volume, but clarity.
Oticon Medical’s OpenSound Navigator can make hearing easier
Oticon Medical has developed OpenSound Navigator™ as a method of noise reduction and it can help you participate more fully in conversations around your holiday dinner table. In this situation, you want to hear the conversation, regardless of its direction. OpenSound Navigator seamlessly adjusts to your environment and reduces the effort it takes to hear.
Talk to your audiologist about creating a program in your Ponto™ 5 Mini or Ponto 5 SuperPower sound processor that utilizes OpenSound Navigator and enjoy the difference it makes this season. Additionally, you can hand a paired ConnectClip™ to a friend or relative across the table. Their voice can be streamed directly into your Ponto 5 device from up to 65 feet away!
Oticon Medical wishes you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!
Families are gathering. Holidays plans are made. You are heading out on a road trip to see the grandkids. The house is bustling with the sounds of the holidays. Children are laughing, and the dinner conversations are lively. It’s time to join with your family around a festive holiday table to celebrate the season and the start of a new year.
For people with hearing loss, these joyous moments can also bring a host of challenges. A noisy dinner conversation can leave a person with hearing loss feeling tired from the effort they have to spend to understand the message. The dinner table is noisy and voices sound muffled from a distance. Important conversations are missed. These challenges can cause isolation and exhaustion for someone with hearing loss.
Oticon Medical has focused on these challenging situations to present patients with device programming and accessory options that improve communication and quality of life. Our accessories, paired with good communication practices, can positively impact interactions with users of our product portfolio. Here are some communication strategies that we can all practice throughout the holidays that will help make communication easier and the season more enjoyable for people with hearing loss.
How to talk to someone with hearing loss
Face the person. Ensure that the person with hearing loss can see everyone’s face. The visual cues will help the person understand the words they didn’t catch.
Minimize background noise. Turn off the TV and reduce the volume of surrounding music or television to make communication easier.
Make sure the room is well-lit. A well-lit environment can make it easier for the person with hearing loss to see facial expressions, body language, and gestures from across a room.
Get their attention first. Get an individual’s attention by saying their name first or gently tapping their arm, and then convey your message to increase the chance that it will be heard and understood.
Speak slowly and clearly. Annunciate your words and take your time.
Rephrase, don’t repeat. If something isn’t heard the first time, try rephrasing it. Instead of repeating the same sentence louder, try saying it a different way.
Don’t speak from another room. Minimizing distance will maximize the chance that your message will be heard and understood.
Speak at a normal volume. Shouting during conservation can distort the signal for the person with hearing loss and so, rather than making it easier for a hard of hearing person to understand you, it often has the opposite effect.
Useful tools for communication success
Oticon Medical’s BrainHearing™ philosophy reminds us that we hear with our brains, not just our ears. Our Ponto™ devices are equipped with special noise reduction options that operate with this philosophy in mind. The Ponto family is compatible with a variety of accessories that have streaming capabilities to help people with hearing loss communicate successfully in difficult listening environments. Let’s look at a few scenarios where Ponto users can use these tools to make communication easier in challenging situations during the holidays.
A Ponto 5 Mini user and his wife have loaded up the RV for a holiday road trip to see their grandkids. For these two people, a conversation in the car is challenging because of road noise and the lack of visual cues as they face the road. The Ponto user can use the ConnectClip to give themselves a big advantage in this situation and allow for an enjoyable road trip full of conversation. The Ponto user’s wife can clip the ConnectClip that is paired to her husband’s Ponto 5 Mini to her lapel about 6 inches from her mouth. She presses and holds the multi-function button for a few seconds until the lights turn purple and green. This action sends her voice on a wireless journey direct to her husband’s Ponto 5 Mini, allowing for effortless conversation between the two, reducing background noise, and minimizing the effects of distance on their ability to communicate.
Watching a movie
Oticon Medical’s TV Adapter 3.0 is compatible with the entire Ponto product family. You can pair a TV Adapter to your Ponto 3 SuperPower using your Oticon Medical Streamer or to Ponto 4 or 5 Mini directly. This allows you to stream audio directly from your television to your device. You can use your streamer or the Oticon ON™ app to control the volume of the television while your family continues to listen at a level that’s comfortable for them.
Adjustments from afar
You are having difficulty hearing in noise on your holiday vacation, but it isn’t convenient for you to visit your audiologist for programming in person. What can you do? Ponto 5 Mini users can now use RemoteCare to arrange a quick telehealth appointment with their audiologist. During a scheduled RemoteCare visit, an audiologist can log into a private portal which allows them to make the adjustments that their patient needs. The program changes are uploaded to the patient’s device using Oticon’s RemoteCare app and the new settings can be used by the Ponto 5 Mini user right away. This groundbreaking technology opens a new frontier for Ponto patients.
Oticon Medical has developed OpenSound Navigator™ as a method of noise reduction for those energetic conversations around your holiday dinner table. In this situation, you want to hear the conversation, regardless of its direction. OpenSound Navigator will seamlessly adjust to your environment and reduces the effort it takes to hear. Talk to your audiologist about creating a program in your Ponto 4 or 5 Mini device that utilizes OpenSound Navigator and hear the difference at the holiday dinner table this year. Additionally, you can hand a paired ConnectClip to a relative across the table and their voice can be streamed directly from up to 65 feet away.
Oticon Medical is here to support you while you are on the go this holiday season. For product support, videos on how to pair accessories, or in-depth information about the different solutions available to you, visit Wireless Connectivity.
Should you need help from an Oticon Medical audiologist during the holiday season, please contact our Auditory Technical Services support team during the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM, Eastern time at 888-277-8014 or by email at [email protected].
Oticon Medical wishes you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!
About the Author
Courtney Smith, M.A., CCC-A, is the Clinical Trainer at Oticon Medical, having just joined the team in October of 2021. She practiced audiology in both medical and private practice settings in Las Vegas, NV. She has experience working with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and bone anchored solutions for adults and pediatrics. She completed her training at the University of Iowa in 2003.
The winter and holiday season is usually full of fun, family and friends. Today, we’re sharing tips collected from our community to make sure Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS) users get the most joy out of winter. From dealing with the noise of large group gatherings to unique winter hats, gear and gifts for family members with hearing loss, here’s what our community had to share.
In her post, “Holiday Madness, Seven Tips to Better Communication” Arlene Romoff shares a great reminder: “Realize that large social groups, especially around a large dining room table, are one of the most difficult environments for a person with a hearing loss.” Penny Feltham took to Twitter to share a great idea about reducing those unnecessary clunks that add to the noise.