Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation. Even when a person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening strategies, it is crucial that others around them also consistently use good communication strategies. Below, we discuss a few simple ways to boost effective communication with a senior who’s hard of hearing.
Utilizing Other Senses
Just because someone is experiencing hearing loss does not mean communication is futile. Often times this simply means we must utilize other sensory signals to make up for the loss of hearing. This can be easier than one may think since so much of our language and communication is already non-verbal as it is.
Sight- Try to catch someone’s eye to let them know you are trying to speak with them. Keep in mind that lip movements, facial expressions and hand gestures tend to provide more information than actual words do.
Touch- Before initiating a conversation you can try gently touching a person’s arm or shoulder to get their attention.
Eliminate All Other Noise
The easiest way to improve communication with someone who’s hard of hearing is to eliminate any and all background noise whenever possible. This can be as simple as turning off the dishwasher or television, or splitting up from noisy groups of people.
Get to the Point
Whenever possible it helps tremendously to simplify your point. When telling a story or trying to explain something important, try using shorter, simpler sentences to get your point across. Ask your loved one to not hesitate to ask you to repeat yourself or to try rephrasing it if needed.
What Not To Do
Shout- Speaking a bit louder can help but shouting and exaggerating words can actually distort sounds.
Speak Directly into Ear- Doing this can distort speech and hide any visual clues.
Turn Away- Turning away when speaking can make it much more difficult, if not impossible to hear and read lips or hand gestures.
While there is hope on the horizon for hearing loss, there are many steps you can take to improve communication and the overall wellbeing of your loved ones now. Oftentimes professional help at home can make a world of a difference when caring for a senior with hearing loss. At Home Instead Senior Care, we believe in quality at-home care for seniors that prioritizes communication and patience everyday. Visit our website to find a qualified CAREGiver near you!