Key words: hard of hearing, tips for communication
Reading time: 4 minutes
TIMA talked to Roz Sutley, Past President of Canadian Hard of Hearing—Manitoba Chapter (CHHA-MB) about what CHHA-MB does and what tips she would share on communicating with people with hearing loss. Here is what she had to say…
Targeting Isolation: Please introduce yourself and tell me about your organization and your role within the organization.
Roz Sutley, CHHA-MB: My name is Rosalyn Sutley and I am the past president of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association-MB Chapter. My role is to increase public awareness of CHHA-MB, hearing loss, and the impact it has on our lives. CHHA-MB also advocates for improved and appropriate hearing health services and resources throughout Manitoba.
Targeting Isolation: If someone were to visit CHHA-MB and have time sit down with you and have a coffee, what would you want them to know about CHHA-MB?
Roz Sutley, CHHA-MB: CHHA-MB is a volunteer-based organization run by and for the hard of hearing in Manitoba. We are here to assist you and your family in learning how to live with your hearing loss. We have the experience and knowledge of what it is like to live with a hearing loss and can provide people with a safe and supportive place to ask questions - to become informed about issues around hearing loss and the various assistive hearing technologies that are available and to develop effective coping skills and strategies to live with your hearing loss.
We offer peer support groups, living with hearing loss workshops, and staff training
You do not have to have a hearing loss to connect with us. Often family and friends provide the initial contact. It is important to remember that hearing loss affects everyone, from family and friends to colleagues and the public you interact with. We offer on-line and in person hearing loss support groups which deal with topics that range from the emotional impact of hearing loss to discussions on the latest technology that is available. We recently started a monthly tinnitus peer support group. We are also available to do hearing loss workshops and staff training on how to communicate with the hard of hearing.
Often, people do not know what to do, why the problem is occurring, or how to fix it. This is where CHHA-MB can help
Targeting Isolation: One of the things you said you wanted to share with people was how hearing loss or hearing impairment relates to communication. Can you explain to me why you think that is so important for people to know?
Roz Sutley, CHHA-MB: When someone has a hearing loss, hearing and communication becomes more challenging for everyone in the conversational group and everyone in the group needs to use appropriate communication strategies to maintain the flow of conversation. Because hearing loss is invisible and many are reluctant to admit when they are not hearing, it becomes difficult to know when there is a problem. Often, people do not know what to do, why the problem is occurring, or how to fix it. This is where CHHA-MB can help. Through our support classes you will gain a better understanding of YOUR hearing loss and how to manage it better. You will learn what YOU need and gain the confidence to advocate for yourself.
Through our support classes you will gain a better understanding of YOUR hearing loss and how to manage it better. You will learn what YOU need and gain the confidence to advocate for yourself
Targeting Isolation: You are passionate about the importance of communication: what are tips that you would like to share about improving communication?
Roz Sutley, CHHA-MB:
There are a few simple strategies everyone can use when communicating with others. When communicating with those with a hearing loss it is important to get their attention you before you start talking. And, equally, the hard of hearing person should give their attention to the speaker when they are talking. So, a first strategy is Get and Give to Connect. By following this rule, everyone is in the conversation from the start making it easier for everyone to participate fully.
A second strategy is: Take time. If you have something to say, take the time to say it slightly slower and clearer. Allow people to process what you have said. Hearing and understanding what is being said when you have a hearing loss is challenging; responding appropriately and in a timely manner takes work, effort, and concentration.
Two strategies for communicating: Get and Give to Connect and Take time
When communicating effectively becomes challenging it is important to remember that you can always ask what can be done to make things easier. For those with hearing loss, accepting, and managing your hearing loss, using appropriate assistive hearing devices, and employing effective coping and communication strategies, will enable you to stay engaged with family, friends, and the community at large. Live with your hearing loss!
Targeting Isolation: What if people want to learn more?
Connect with CHHA-MB through email or phone. Stay in touch with news and events by visiting our website.
Telephone (MB): 204-975-3037
See also: Targeting Isolation's Feature Page on communicating with hard of hearing.