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Financial Planners Can Help With the Financial Challenges of Hearing Loss — If They Can Look You Straight in the Face

To help clients face up to truths, financial planners should face clients directly. There are numerous advantages to not only looking clients in the eye but also revealing your whole face.
Hearing Aid Financial Planners

Financial planning session in action.

To help clients face up to truths, financial planners should face clients directly. There are numerous advantages to not only looking clients in the eye but also revealing your whole face. The benefits apply to everyone, but are especially applicable and true for prospects, clients, and colleagues with some degree of hearing loss.

The McGurk Effect proved that speech perception is determined not only by hearing but also by vision. The combination induces speechreading—what used to be less accurately referred to as lipreading. Making sure that your entire face is visible when you are speaking will ensure that listeners are more likely to understand what you are saying and less likely to suffer from listening fatigue.

Despite the portrayal in movies like Mission: Impossible III and Metro, speechreading is not easily done and is not entirely flawless. Aside from the difficulty of discerning homophones, there is also the challenge of homophenes—consonants or words that look identical when spoken and cannot be distinguished by speechreading alone. Even when skillfully applied, speechreading does not confer an ability to instantly recognize every word, to magically perceive “legerdemain” or “prestidigitation.”

Accommodations for speechreading can be quite helpful for anyone but particularly for people who have trouble hearing. Besides the strain to understand spoken words, hearing loss creates many challenges. When left unaddressed, hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression, and dementia. Visits with otolaryngologists and audiologists can assist patients in recognizing that their hearing loss will become a serious problem, to begin moving through the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages of change.

Where financial planners can play a role is in helping clients with hearing loss to move into preparation and action.

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Reprinted with permission from the November issue of Journal of Financial Planning. (c) 2023 Financial Planning Association. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Cary Tucker

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

Cary W. Tucker is a former paralegal who transfigured into a paraplanner. He obtained a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning from the University of California Irvine and went on to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® professional. He enjoys providing treatments for financial health.