Six Strategies to Increase Communication with Individuals with Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is usually one of the inevitable side effects of the aging process. For the most part, it’s a gradual deterioration and something we all have to accept.
If you have an elderly loved one who is suffering from hearing problems and he or she has home care in Mainline, then speak to his or her Caregiver about the following tips to keep your loved one engaged in conversation.
- Make Sure You Have the Listener’s Attention
- Face the Listener
- Speak Slowly
- Introduce the Subject
- Use Familiar Words and Phrases
- Don’t Repeat; Rephrase
Before starting a conversation with people who are hard of hearing, make sure they know that you are talking to them. It sounds obvious, but if you start speaking without making the listener visually aware and rely solely on sound, you will probably not be heard initially.
Taking a second to physically move closer to your loved one helps in an obvious way. Additionally, actually facing the person can help to give him or her visual cues as to when/how to respond. He or she can also read your facial expressions and might even be able to lip-read in order to get a grasp on what you are saying.
Somebody who is hard of hearing will find it much more difficult to understand you if you speak at normal conversational speed. Slowing down and carefully enunciating each word will make it much more likely that you will be understood the first time.
If the listener knows the topic of the conversation, he or she is much more likely to be able to respond in a relevant way. Simply understanding context makes it easier to formulate a reply.
If your loved one knows the subject matter ahead of time, then he or she will be looking out for words, phrases, people, and places to associate with that topic. If possible, try not to introduce new words; instead, explain everything carefully, using words he or she will understand. Try not to overgeneralize.
Having a conversation with a person who is hard of hearing is a struggle and can lead to unnecessary frustration and subsequent upset. One of the most frustrating things is having to repeat yourself over and over again at an increasingly elevated volume. This disrupts conversation flow and is largely unnecessary. If your loved one didn’t understand you the first time, the chances are that he or she isn’t going to understand you the next time, either. Try and think of another way to explain things; the more explanations you give, the more likely your loved one will understand.