Studies show that a person with an uncorrected hearing loss, who is trying hard to listen and make sense of what’s being said, does poorly at remembering what has been said. It appears that the brain shifts its focus, in order to comprehend real-time speech, leaving very little to remember what’s been said. Experts call this ‘Cognitive Load’ and it can be described as similar to streaming video on a slow Internet connection, where the results are frustrating, choppy and nearly useless.
Here are ten tips to reduce your brain’s cognitive load and increase the success of your connection with friends and family:
- Have your hearing tested if you suspect it’s not as acute as it used to be and you have increased problems understanding.
- Maximize your hearing ability by wearing hearing aids if you have a hearing loss
- Reduce multiple activities so you can concentrate on one thing at a time; cooking the meal while trying to carry on a conversation.
- Try to relax. Find a quiet spot and take a break from noise when agitated.
- It’s not necessary to understand every word that is said. Use your eyes to pick up non-verbal visual cues to help what is being said. And instead of asking people to repeat, ask them to rephrase. Often times it’s only one word that makes the difference between understanding or not.
- Trying to hide a disability is stressful. Therefore, talk about your hearing loss and explain your situation to others so that they know you might not understand everything said
- Others don’t judge you by your disabilities but by how well you overcome them
- Avoid being frustrated by people with soft voices in noisy environments, either find a quieter place to have a conversation. Face the directly and be close.
- Familiarize yourself with your hearing aid controls, and which settings are best in noisy environments
- Anticipate the chances of hearing aid failing at the worst possible time by prior proper maintenance and operating on fresh batteries