Our last Hearing Loss Association chapter meeting in Prescott last weekend was about the phone. We shared our phone stories and strategies. This was passed out also and I thought it valuable enough to share here as well.
Phone Communication Strategies
Developed by Steve Barber of the HLAA-NC Wake Chapter
- Know who’s calling (Caller ID or ask).
- Make sure you know the subject.
- Don’t hide your hearing loss or bluff.
- Put the other person at ease.
- Ask for repeats as needed.
- Ask for a rephrase if repeats don’t help.
- Ask for “spell out” (Charlie, Alpha, Tango).
- Ask for a “count up” for numbers.
- Confirm and ask for “yes/no” answers.
- Ask for partial confirmations.
- Use the ‘as in’ strategy.
- Ask the other person to speak slowly.
- Ask if the other person has a better phone.
- Ask for another person.
- Avoid voice response unit.
- Use your answering machine or service.
I have recently started using my cell phone for business, as a hairdresser. I’m just beginning and can’t afford to get a land line yet (to put in my Caption Call phone) so it’s my cell phone and uDirect (similar to an iCom). The uDirect sends my phone calls to both my hearing aids giving me bilateral hearing on the phone; every little bit helps. Most of the time phone calls come in clear and even filters out some background. Technology is nice.
It’s an amazing little device I bought last winter but resisted using until now. I can use the phone, I just don’t like to. I developed an intense dislike of it over the last four years so forcing myself to use it is not easy. I have no one a work to use as back up since it’s a one person salon, me! Every phone call I get, anxiety slips in as I brace myself for hyper attention. So far there’s only been one person I couldn’t understand correctly. I was stuck on one sentence. He repeated twice but it didn’t help so I told him to stop in anytime and he did thankfully. Small towns are great that way.
Using the uDirect takes preparation. I have to set up my phone for blue tooth then turn on the uDirect. I wear it all day while at work. If I get an unexpected phone call on my days off and can’t hook up my devices fast enough I have this message. “Hi this is Chelle. I’m hard of hearing so please speak a little bit slower for me when leaving a message and I’ll get back to you. You can also text me. Thank you, I appreciate your interest.”
So far the majority of the people want to accommodate me especially since I’m the only working hairdresser for miles. People are texting me for appointments or stopping by. One lady talked so slow while leaving a message, it made me smile. When I got her on the phone she made sure she didn’t talk too fast again. What a blessing to have such nice people in the world.
As soon as I build up to a reliable income, I’m switching to a land line for my CaptionCall phone. The back up captions will relieve my remaining anxiety and make it easier for both me and my clients. In the mean time, I will use some of Steve Barber’s strategies above and the one I need to remember most is ask for a rephrase.