Communication is a two-way street. It is about interpersonal communication or the behavior of listener and speaker. The social integration. How we respond, perceive or understand each other. It has been referred by audiologists as the Communication Diet Theory.
This theory conveys information at various levels:
Level 1: Superficial level, such as greetings while passing by.
Level 2: Information sharing level, such as when we discuss the plans for the weekend.
Level 3: Meaningful information, such as thank you for the information and if you would let me share my point of view about the situation, I would like to. You are connecting on a more emotional level.
The individual's nonverbal is as important to the communication diet as the speaking or listening tactics. We gain visual cues or body language as to what level the communication is at. Stance, eye contact and facial expressions may be giving us a different or conflicting message than the things people are saying. The intonation of one's voice provides subtle information of the intended message. We are all aware of the inside joke or the "look" people who are at Level 3 may have among one another.
When people have hearing loss, they may rely more on the visual or body language aspect rather than the auditory information, or what the speaker is saying, for the true content.
When this content has not been established at Level 2 and Level 3, miscommunication results. Anything that impedes communication, such as a speech disorder, the inability to speak the language of one's community, or a hearing loss will affect our ability to feel integrated within our community. Nowhere is this communication break down more noticeable than for those with hearing loss.
A person's ability or inability is the most critical aspect of hearing loss, and thus communication, rather than just amplification or loudness to increase the ability to hear that determines success with family, friends and their community and the social aspects of living.
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Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.