Communication Strategies: Listening At Home

If we’re lucky, home is where the heart is; where we spend most of our time with the most important people in our lives. However, home is also where we are most likely to get lazy with how we communicate, which is why in this post, we’re going to focus on the importance of effective communication at home, which starts with listening at home.

Strategy #1

The 1st Key to communication success is the listener. As listeners, we are responsible for making sure we receive the information accurately so that we can respond appropriately. Let’s start by taking a look at some effective strategies we can use to improve our listening at home skills.

LISTENER TIP: Active Listening LET’S PRACTICE
To be actively listening, you must concentrate completely on what is being said, watch facial expressions and body language, and be sure to continuously anticipate what might be said next based on your surroundings or previous conversations. Simply put, active listening means giving our full attention to the person who is speaking at all times. Over the next few days, put extra effort into listening actively. Before you ask for repetition, think about your surroundings and what you were just discussing and go from there.
LISTENER TIP: Use your words LET’S PRACTICE
When we miss what was said, most of us are in the habit of saying, “What?” Usually, when we say “what?” it’s not that we didn’t hear what was said, we simply didn’t understand what was said. This program is going to break us of this nasty habit and make us better communicators! We’ll learn several alternatives, but first, let’s find out how often we use “what?” in our day-to-day! Keep a written record of how many times you say “What?” in a single day. You may need to ask those who live with you to help because you might use “what?” so often, you may not even realize it! Your communication partner can help by pointing it out. You might even find that the simple act of watching your “what?” count will give your brain enough time to figure out what was said without needing to ask for any clarification at all.

If you’ve been given hearing aids, remember, it will take some time to get used to them, so be patient with yourself and your family. Of course, if you’re experiencing any discomfort or your hearing aids don’t seem to be working as promised, give us a call. We’ll do everything we can to make sure they work properly and are as comfortable as possible.

Strategy #2

The 2nd Key to Communication Success is the speaker. Sometimes we call this person the “communication partner.” The speaker is responsible for sharing his/her thoughts in a clear and effective way. Believe it or not, as frustrated as we may be by our hearing loss, our friends and family members are often just as annoyed by our hearing difficulties. But it can be worse for them at times, because they don’t know how to help. Fear not! This is your opportunity to teach them how to do their part to promote successful communication with listening at home.

We’ve put together some speaker tips we know will help your communication partner and you have better conversations. Be sure to share these tips with friends and family members who you see or talk to often.

SPEAKER TIP LET’S PRACTICE
Both speakers and listeners tend to let down their guard and put less effort into communicating clearly when they are in the comfort of their own home. For this reason, it’s important for the speaker to follow these 3 simple rules:
– Get your listener’s attention before you start talking
– Make sure you are in the same room as your listener
– Be sure to face your listener while you speak
The Stranger Game is a great way to improve how you communicate. The goal is to talk to the people at home in the same manner that you would speak to a stranger. Follow the suggestions on the left and enjoy not having to repeat yourself over and over again!

It makes sense, think about the way you talk to a grocery store clerk or bank teller. You don’t try to talk to them from another aisle in the store, or from the other side of the bank. You look at them, you speak loud enough, and you articulate clearly so that you can effectively get your point across. If they miss something you’ve said, you don’t get frustrated or exaggerate your words. You simply repeat or rephrase what you said a little louder and a little clearer.

Strategy #3

The 3rd Key to Communication Success is the environment. There are ways you can change your environment to make communication easier in every situation. One of the most common causes of communication breakdowns around the house is trying to communicate from a distance. Sometimes this happens when we try to talk from different rooms in the house. Other times this happens when we try to talk from opposite ends of larger rooms. Either way, this is a recipe for communication disaster.

SPEAKER & LISTENER TIP PRACTICE
Both the speaker and the listener are responsible for making sure they are in the same room and no more than 10 feet apart (preferably closer) when they need to communicate with one another. It’s time to play the Finger-Touch Game! Yes, it sounds strange, but we promise it will be fun and easy!
The rules are simple: for an entire day, you and your communication partner can only speak to each other once you have touched finger tips. That’s all! No talking without first touching one another’s finger tips. You’ll be amazed at the results. Do this for a few days straight and you will train yourselves to be in the ideal position for successful communication around the house, every time! Here’s to listening at home success!

Strategy #4

Another common cause of communication breakdowns around the house (and many other situations) is background noise. It’s difficult to hear over household noises like running water, the dishwasher, or the washer/dryer. It’s also difficult to hear when the TV is playing in the background. If we want to have easy communication exchanges, we have to stop competing with all of these background noises.

You’ve got some great tools to get you started on how to improve your listening at home skills. Now, with all these communication tips, we wanted to give some hearing aid guidance too, to make sure we’re doing everything we can o achieve hearing success. See below for some suggestions, and of course, if you have any questions, reach out to us!


Hearing Aid Tips:

Wear your hearing aids even when you’re at home! Your brain needs time to adjust to amplified sound, and the time you spend at home is just as important as the time you spend out and about. You need to get used to the environmental sounds around your house like clocks ticking, water running, and fans blowing. If you wear your hearing aids full time, you will experience success with them far more easily, and probably sooner too.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aid
In-The-Canal (ITC) half shell hearing aid

It can take a little time for your ears to get used to the physical sensation of having something in them. Give it time, and before you know it, you’ll hardly know the hearing aids are there! However, if you experience any pain or discomfort while wearing your hearing aids, be sure to return to your hearing care provider immediately because there is always something that can be done to make them more comfortable for you.

There may be sounds around your house that your brain has “forgotten” after years of living with hearing loss. As you adapt to your hearing aids, some of these sounds may seem new or abnormally loud to you. The air conditioner, heater, microwave, refrigerator, and washer/dryer are just a few examples. This is normal, and those sounds will become less annoying with time. Allowing your brain to get used to all these sounds is another reason why it’s so important to wear your hearing aids every day, all day.

In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aid
Completely-In-Canal (CIC) hearing aid

It’s normal for your hearing aids to sound extra loud, or extra “sharp” when you first put them on in the morning. Your brain will quickly adapt to the amplified sound. You can reduce this daily adjustment period by putting your hearing aids on right when you get out of bed, before you listen to anything or talk to anyone.


There are so many aspects of hearing that can be addressed while at home, so we hope these suggestions will help you on your way! As always, if you need help with more listening at home tips or your hearing aids, we’re only a phone call away! And if you have any helpful tips we haven’t mentioned yet, we’d love to hear about them too! We wish you luck on your hearing health journey!

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