Seniors (and everyone) with hearing loss find it frustrating and challenging in varying degrees to communicate effectively with other people. This strains conversations and prompts less social engagement and interaction, which increases risk for emotional and mental health consequences. Use the proper communication techniques outlined below so your loved ones with hearing loss can remain an active and meaningful part of the conversation.
- Get Their Attention: Get the listener’s attention before speaking.
- Face them in Good Lighting: Position yourself toward the person and speak directly to them. Lip-readers find this particularly necessary. Good lighting is key when conveying both facial and body language.
- Reduce Background Noise: Eliminate as much background noise as possible by turning off the TV, radio, and other appliances while conversing. While in restaurants and other public or social places, sit away from crowded and noisy areas.
- Speak Loudly and Clearly: Speak slightly louder if necessary, but don’t shout at the person. Enunciate your words clearly, remain conscious of your volume, and speak at a reasonable speed. Speaking too slowly, shouting, and over-exaggerating words makes speech more difficult to understand, awkward, and uncomfortable for those with hearing loss. Do not hide your mouth, or eat or chew gum while talking.
- Speak One at a Time: Make sure only one person talks at a time, and don’t talk over other people.
- Repeat or Rephrase: Those with hearing loss may shake their head as though they understand what you’ve said just to avoid embarrassment. Check if they understood or repeat yourself if necessary. You can also rephrase your speech into shorter and simpler sentences if the person has trouble.
- Be Understanding and Inclusive: Hearing loss can make people feel disconnected and ignored, so encourage conversation with the person. Realize that the abilities to stay involved and able to listen to others are very important to those with hearing loss.
These tips can be invaluable and assist you in successfully communicating with those in your life suffering from hearing loss. For more tips and advice, visit this link.