Six Strategies to Increase Communication with Individuals with Hearing Loss


There is a firmly established link between hearing loss and serious conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It sounds like a long stretch, but elderly people with hearing difficulties tend to naturally withdraw from conversations; this leads them to feel socially isolated, which in turn encourages the onset of these conditions.  This is why it is crucial that conversation with elderly people is carried on as normal, regardless of hearing loss.

If your loved one receives in-home care in Potomac, then the chances are that his or her Caregiver is already aware of the following techniques.  Keep these points in mind and ensure that conversation flows easily and frustration is kept to a minimum.

  1. Are they aware you are talking to them?
  2. When we speak, we automatically assume that the other person has heard us.  When dealing with a person with hearing loss, we often forget that this isn’t the case.  Making sure the person is aware that he or she is involved in a conversation is an important starting point.

  3. Are you facing them?
  4. Conversing with someone also includes face and body movements, which people rely on to know when to respond.  This goes for people with hearing loss as well as all normal conversations.  Visual cues will help people know when they’re expected to speak.  If you are facing a person, you are also likely to be closer to him or her, which will also improve your chances of being understood.

  5. Do they know the subject matter?
  6. This may seem a strange thing to do at the beginning of a conversation, but telling someone what you are going to be discussing actually helps him or her put things into context and decreases the likelihood of miscommunication.

  7. Are you using recognizable words and phrases?
  8. If a person knows the subject, then he or she will be looking out for things that are recognizable.  Use words you know he or she knows and try to explain things in detail, rather than generalizing.

  9. Are you speaking slowly?
  10. People with hearing difficulties will find it easier to follow slower speech.  Don’t speak at your normal pace.

  11. Are you rephrasing, rather than repeating?
  12. You can say the same thing over and over again—and get progressively louder, if you like—but in most cases, a person may simply not understand you.  Try rephrasing what you want to say instead.  Presenting someone with more than one way of saying something will increase the chances of understanding.

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