A Hearing Disability May Not Be the Whole Problem: Here’s Another Contributing Factor
Are you finding more and more frequently that you’re receiving blank stares or questions such as, “What?” and, “Can you please repeat that?” from a senior loved one with a hearing disability? It might not just be that his or her hearing loss is getting worse; the problem could actually be a result of your communication and pronunciation. Remember, for those with low hearing, a variety of factors such as background noise, mumbling, and the pitch of someone’s voice can make it all the more difficult to catch information and respond.
At Hired Hands Homecare, we work with elderly clients who have trouble hearing, and have a few tips for you to better communicate with your loved ones.
- Before beginning to speak, get the attention of the person with the hearing loss
- Speak up, as clearly and naturally as possible, without shouting
- Do not overemphasize the speech sounds or talk in slow motion
- Turn off the TV or radio to reduce background noise
- Write down important information and directions for the person to read
- Don’t cover your mouth with your hand or any other objects
- If applicable, think about trimming a mustache and/or beard so your lips are easier to read
- Rephrase a misunderstood sentence rather than repeating it
- Ask the person with the hearing disability to repeat vital facts
- When going to a restaurant, choose a quiet, well-lit establishment where the noise level is lower
- When in a group, clue the person into the conversation, the punch line, the context, and/or assist the person when topics change
If implementing these ideas still results in an increase in communication difficulties, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your senior loved one’s physician to determine if another course of action is available to help. An adjustment to the senior’s hearing aid may be required, or there may be other options such as surgery to consider to improve his or her hearing quality.
For more communication tips and other resources on helping older loved ones with a hearing disability to thrive at home, contact the Tri-Valley home care experts at Hired Hands Homecare. We offer professional, personalized in-home care for individuals who suffer from hearing loss and any other conditions of aging, as well as advice and guidance for friends and family who serve as their caregivers. With services available throughout Marin, Sonoma, Napa counties and the Tri-Valley, you can reach us any time at (866) 940-4343 to learn more.