Communication has never been more difficult. Jade finds that her mom’s hearing has become weaker and weaker over time. Sometimes when she tries to talk to her mom, her mom thinks Jade’s yelling for no reason. However, Jade’s mom refuses to wear hearing aids and whenever she doesn’t understand Jade, she acts like she can’t hear them at all.
Loss of hearing is a common phenomenon that occurs among seniors. The natural aging process will lead to a decrease in our senses, and this includes our hearing. However, there are a few factors that can expedite this process, such as medications, noisy environments, chronic fatigue, and emotions.
Hearing loss does not just make people “not listen” to you, but it also change their personality – eliciting anger, anxiety, social withdrawal, and even depression. When seniors feel stressed or annoyed, they may just act like they don’t hearing anything. So, when dealing with seniors with a hearing impairment, you need to have more patience, sensitivity, and understanding.
Today, we are going to provide you with some useful tips on how to communicate happily and smoothly with a loved one who has hearing loss. Let’s jump in!
What Is the Best Way to Communicate with a Hearing Impaired Loved One?
Find a Quiet Place or Reduce Background Noise
Your loved one may not know you are talking in a noisy environment, so when you are trying to raise your voice, there’s a very high chance that she or he thinks you are shouting and angry. So, make sure there is no music or television playing in the background.
Public places like restaurants with a lot of noise and crowds would make conversation difficult. Selecting locations with fewer background noises and less congested areas can greatly improve communication and reduce distractions.
Get Their Attention, and Face Them While Talking
Before speaking, you need to first get their attention. This can be accomplished by touching them on the arm or shoulder in a proper way, and not from behind.
Make sure you are making eye contact, and keep the light on your face. Sometimes, it is also helpful to say their names in a polite way; being respectful is always the key in a conversation.
Keep Tour Hands/Mask Away From Your Face While Talking
Same as maintaining adequate illumination on your face while talking, patients with hearing loss need to read your lips. So get rid of your mask or anything that would block your mouth and let your loved one “read” your words.
Speak Clearly and Loudly
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, “How To Communicate With Seniors” , you need to speak clearly, and raise your voice if needed (but don’t scream). Do not speak too quickly or too slowly, and don’t use slang that elderly people may not understand.
Rephrase Your Question or Statement
When your loved one seems to not understand what you mean or not hear what you say, try rephrasing it in another way.
Sometimes your loved one may be confused about certain words, so simply repeating your statement isn’t helpful. Try shortening or simplifying your words and see their reaction.
Make Wse of Body Language and Visual Cues
Your posture and facial expression conveys emotion, while visual cues provide instruction. However, since facial expressions and nonverbal movements provide additional information, don’t exaggerate them, as they may be distracting.
You can also use aids to deliver your information, such as writing it down, or typing it on your phone and showing it to the person.
Ask Them How They Prefer to Communicate
Communication with seniors often requires cooperative efforts. So, it is never a bad idea to inquire about the other person’s preferred method of communication – if verbal isn’t the best for them, ask them if they would like to use any aid such as phones or sticky notes.
In the End
If you have tried many methods to communicate but the condition continues to worsen, it is better to do a hearing test. Specialists will offer potential solutions and techniques to help with hearing problems.