“May the Wind be Always at Your Back”
I love this Irish blessing. The wind at my back consists of the helpful people around me.
Every Friday, I go to lunch with my friends. We pick restaurants with varying noise levels, lighting, and seating arrangements. Before we sit down, my friends always ask me where I want to sit. They know that the location of the table, and my place at that table, will affect how well I hear.
If you have directional microphones in your hearing aids, like I do, the best table in the room is one that puts most of the noise behind you. Directional microphones will reduce the sound coming from behind, and emphasize the sound coming from the front.
My friends don’t necessarily understand how directional microphones work (or that I even have them), but they know that where I sit is important.
How helpful they are.
What if you are not surrounded by people who are helpful? What if the wind is not at your back?
You can teach others how to help you. If your significant other, your family, and your friends don’t know that where you sit is important, once you tell them, I am sure they will happily accommodate you. Your job is to let others know what you need.
The key is that other people can, and will, make things easier for you communicate. But you have to teach them. And be prepared to tell them more than once.
Dr. Samuel Trychin, a psychologist with hearing loss, said, “Many people who are hard of hearing have the erroneous assumption that all they need to do is to inform a speaker once about their communication needs, and that person should remember to do it forever more.”
As Dr. Trychin pointed out, people are more focused on what they are saying than how they are saying it. And since most of the people that they talk to don’t require this accommodation, they don’t get a lot of practice.
If the wind is not at your back, change your direction. Ask for help. Tell people what you need to communicate. And be prepared to tell them more than once.
Have you tried this? Are you willing to try it?