Seniors with Hearing Loss – 6 Simple Tips for Communication
How do you communicate with your loved one when he suffers from hearing loss? Hearing loss in seniors is one of the most common complaints among older adults. It can disturb their quality of life.
What can we, as the partner in communication do, to make communicating as smooth and as pleasant as possible?
6 Simple Tips for Communication
Since the person cannot hear well, they will be relying on their other senses to communicate effectively.
The substitute senses will be namely: Sight and Touch.
Notice how they feature in the following tips.
- Before beginning to talk make sure you have their attention. Either call their name, touch their shoulder or make sure that you have eye contact.
- Make sure there is good lighting in the room so that the senior can see you talking to them.
- Do not address them from the side or from behind them. They should not have to turn to speak to you.
- Your speech should be enunciated clearly and slow. Many seniors need a little extra time to process speech in any case. The hearing difficulty compounds this challenge.
- Reduce or stop back ground noises. While in noisy environments, keep discussions to a minimum.
- Back up your verbal comments with gestures or ‘props’ that help to make what you are saying obvious. If you feel like you are playing charades, it might be a little bit true. If it makes it easier for the senior you are connecting to, it is worth it .
In addition to this, other methods of communication can help. Writing or sketching on a whiteboard is something that can support communication.
The Importance of Communication in Seniors
Communicating is one of the primary human needs and one of the activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are the essential actions a person does as an independent functioning individual.
Continual communication with a senior helps to keep the parts of the brain responsible for communication thriving. So, for the neurological health of a senior with hearing loss, solutions to communication issues are important.
Of course, communicating, has many other benefits. Aside from neurological benefits, communication makes a person feel that they:
- belong in a social group
- are wanted and loved
- can contribute to society
- may share their feelings, wants and needs
- are welcome to share their opinions
Environmental Factors also Affect Hearing
Bear in mind that hearing tests often show in figures how well a person hears. In actual life there may be other factors that will contribute to worsening of the ability to hear. Such factors include:
- Disturbances in the environment
- Being tired
- Feeling annoyed or afraid.
When you are dealing with hearing loss in seniors, you have to use extra sensitivity, extra patience and more understanding.
Misunderstandings and Allowances
Hearing loss in seniors need not cause misunderstandings but be prepared for the occasional slip up. Make allowances for the shortcomings of a senior and give them respect.
We can go the extra mile, and apply these communication improvement tips. The hearing loss will become just another fact of life, which can be worked around.
Smile and be relaxed when you are interacting with your senior loved one. Deflate tense situations with your own positive attitude.
If a senior is located in an establishment, or a rehab center, make sure that their hearing needs are known. Inform staff if there are ways to communicate that work better for your loved one.
Family and friends who deal with hearing loss in seniors, can stick with these communication tips on a continual basis. This will will help with all interactions.
Original Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash