When I was younger, and had dogs, I always got a kick out of saying awful things to them in a sweet voice while watching them respond positively.
The dogs were not responding to my words; rather, to the tone of my voice. This taught me the tone of our voice (i.e., tonality) conveys much more than words.
Listen carefully to your voice to see it matches what you are saying. Note how your voice conveys enthusiasm or boredom; pleasure or pain; sincerity or sarcasm and happiness or sadness. You might even exaggerate the tone of your voice a bit to facilitate the hard of hearing in “hearing” your words. In communication, this is called ‘congruence of the message’ and is essential to keeping the connection between you and the receiver of your message active.
Likewise, repetition is a powerful tool when communicating with someone with a hearing loss. If the person you are talking to has not “heard” you after repeating yourself twice, it is recommended the statement, or question be REPHRASED. For example, if you say, “I’m going to the store.” two times and the other person still does not understand you: REPHRASE the statement! Instead of the word “store”, use the word, “market” in its place. This simple word replacement will help me “hear” what you are saying.
Watch for that impatience tone
Voice tonality is critical in the repetition of a statement as the tonality of the voice easily conveys impatience, aggravation, or other emotions through our vocal statements. Impatience at needing to repeat a statement, question, or phrase, will likely cause a hard of hearing individual become stressed, or defensive. Neither help when trying to hear, and clarify, what is being said.
Lastly, it takes patience and practice to learn new ways of communication when it comes to connecting with one who has a hearing loss Over time, however, it becomes second nature. The results of patience, practice, and persistence? Keeping the connection with others… ALIVE!
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