How does sensory loss affect communication?
Decreased vision and/or hearing acuity interferes with reception of the spoken message and hence people with sensory loss frequently experience communication breakdown. Many personal, situational and environmental triggers are also responsible for communication breakdown.
Two-way communication is important for individuals with sensory loss because it allows the sender to ascertain if the receiver has received and understood the message.
Try not to mumble, as this is very hard to understand, even for people with normal hearing. Speak at a normal rate, not too fast or too slow. Use pauses rather than slow speech to give the person time to process speech. Give clues when changing subjects or say “new topic."
- Book an interpreter. ...
- Talk directly to your patient, not the person interpreting for them.
- Make sure you have your patient's attention before talking. ...
- Maintain eye contact whilst communicating. ...
- Use normal lip movement. ...
- Speak at a normal volume.
Turn your face towards the person and ensure your face is well-lit so your lip movements can be easily seen. Don't shout or over-exaggerate words or lip movements. This can actually make it harder for the person to understand you. Speak clearly and slightly slower, but keep the natural rhythms of your speech.
This can include facial expressions, eye gaze, vocalisations, gestures, body movements, pointing and speech.
- Speak first.
- Introduce yourself.
- Make sure the person you're talking to has understood you're speaking to them.
- Describe the situation.
- Offer to help but don't impose it.
- Be specific.
Five groups of normal-hearing subjects were assigned to one of five repair strategies: asking the talker to (a) repeat a sentence, (b) simplify it, (c) rephrase it, (d) say an important key word, or (e) speak two sentences.
- information in large print, braille or audio format.
- information via email (to enable use of assistive technology such as a 'screen reader' which converts text to speech)
Sensory loss can occur due to a minor nick or lesion on the spinal cord which creates a problem within the neurosystem. This can lead to loss of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing. In most cases it often leads to issues with touch.
What are the difficulties people with sensory loss face?
People with a sensory impairment often have difficulty communicating with family, friends, colleagues and services providers, which can impact significantly on their health and wellbeing.
Communication, e.g. lack of access to written/verbal information, external barriers to communication, feelings of isolation, clues to conversation – facial expressions, hand gestures– may be lost. Information, e.g. lack of suitable formats, effect on independence and privacy, frustration.
The environment can affect people with sensory loss communicating because it is to noise and hard to concentrate e.g. hearing aids can pick up all noises if the LOOP in not in place. When trying to sign in a busy surrounding it could be hard to see the signers hands clearly.