Here’s a quick way to eliminate the pain of asking someone to repeat numerous times

You know how it will exactly turn out when you ask someone for the third time to repeat. After the second time, you could tell their facial expression is changing. And it isn’t a positive one either. You seek to get more clarity and ask for the third time, hoping it will be the last time. But instead, you see a huge amount of frustration coming from the person you’re speaking with.

It could end in any direction; either you get the “never mind” response, or someone pushes you aside, not wanting to deal with your repeated request. It hurts to feel rejected for just wanting to understand better what the other person has told you.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with a similar situation again.

Clarity is often what we need

When people speak, clarity is what we’re seeking. As someone with an understanding of the musical structure, I experience clarity in these four ways.

It can come in the form of speed or tempo. How slow or fast one speaks. It could be volume, but mostly if you are in a loud environment with plenty of background noises.

It could be pitch. Like most females, when someone speaks with a high pitch, it can be harder to process than, say, a male voice with a lower pitch. It can be tone. Often when we speak to someone from a non-native country, they express vowels and constants in different ways. Sometimes the vowels change or get lost as we listen, depending on our hearing loss.

It has nothing to deal with listening

Listening isn’t your problem. Often hearing people don’t understand the difference between sound and clarity. Clarity is hard to come by, especially if you have a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

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Often when you ask to repeat, the person you’re speaking with repeats what they said without changing the tone or volume. This should tell you that they assumed that you were not paying attention. They thought that they only needed to repeat themselves again without changing.

In this case, you’ll need to steer them in a better direction rather than responding with “What?” “Repeat that?”

You might be in a place that is too loud. Begin to assess your environment first. If they are speaking too softly, say. “I’m listening, but what you just said isn’t loud enough. Can you repeat that?”

Otherwise, you should respond with something similar: “I’m listening, but what you said isn’t sounding clear. Can you repeat that?”

Speaking louder is just more of the same

It’s funny when you meet someone who thinks hearing loss is only an issue of volume. They want to scream out of the top of their lungs to get you to hear. At the end of the day, you can tell they’re struggling to get a word out from their strained vocal cords. They also forgot that we’re already wearing a hearing aid or cochlear implant that can take care of turning the volume up.

When someone speaks louder, the noise goes right through our ear or processor, heading toward our brain. And suddenly, the sound stops at a screeching halt. Unsure which direction to go. Our poor brain trying to process it all. Suddenly confused, not sure where we should be paying attention.

Help the person out without them having to lose their voice tomorrow. Let them know that speaking louder isn’t the issue. Give them a pass by saying, “Save your voice. It doesn’t sound clear what you said. Can you repeat that?”

Mouthing and over-enunciating are too distracting

Some people get that hearing loss is an issue of clarity. They think of you’re a lip-reading-bee. A high-scoring lip reader that can win any lip reading competition, like a national spelling bee competition.

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You know exactly what happens because they think they know how to move their mouth as they speak. The exaggeration has suddenly taken their mouth in a whole other direction. Now we are partially listening and partially wondering what the hell they’re doing.

It’s time to back up and let them know where you are at. It’s great that they are aware that clarity is an issue for you. Let them know it is right that you are finding it difficult to hear them clearly, and lip reading isn’t always your strongest at times. Perhaps, they can slow their words down to make sense of what they are saying.

Communicate your needs

It’s easy to say, “What?”, “repeat that?”, “huh?” or “I beg your pardon.” But it doesn’t offer someone a way to improve. Communicating another approach to how someone should repeat back to you is better. People get frustrated after many attempts with no improvement. Meeting them halfway can help bring them closer to meeting your own needs. However, you need to communicate it to them in the most effective way that was shown here.

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