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Strategies to Improve Hearing and Concentration
Many people with hearing loss and/or tinnitus experience difficulty in certain listening situations. The following
strategies can help improve hearing and communication:
1. Amplification
• Hearing aids: worn in or behind the ears to make sounds audible
• Assistive listening devices: helps reduce background noise and focus on the speaker
• Cochlear implants: for individuals who have severe to profound hearing loss
2. Reducing background noise
• Position the person with the hearing loss so that the noise is behind him/her
o (have your child) Stand or sit close to the person speaking
o Go to another room if background noise is too loud
3. Watching faces
• Good lighting
• Positioning
o (have your child) Face the talker
o Minimize noise and visual distractions
o Position the person with the hearing loss near the speaker
4. Anticipatory Strategies (anticipating the conversation)
• Know (teach your child) the topic and key vocabulary words of the discussion
• Practice a dialogue of what might be said
• Use relaxation techniques: deep breathing, stretching, etc.
5. Lip-reading Strategies
• Consider:
o Topic of conversation
o The expressions and gestures of the person speaking
• (teach your child to) Ask communication partners to:
o Slow down
o Use clear speech but don't shout
o Face you (your child)
o Avoid chewing and random gestures while speaking
6. Repair strategies for when communication breaks down
• (teach your child to) Ask communication partners to:
o Repeat – say it again the same way
o Rephrase – say it again in a different way
o Reduce – eliminate unnecessary information and only say the important points
o Elaborate – expand on what was said by providing an explanation or description of key points
7. Positively influencing the communication situation
• Communication styles:
o Assertive-guides communication partner, takes responsibility for communication difficulties
o Passive-avoids social situation; bluffs, nods, & pretends to understand
o Aggressive-dominates conversation, unwilling to take responsibility for communication difficulties
Used with permission of Richard S. Tyler, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA