If you're an older adult or have aging friends or family members, chances are that you've had experience with hearing loss, even if it doesn't personally affect you. Approximately 1 out of 3 older adults aged 65 and older live with hearing loss, and that figure increases to 2 out of 3 for seniors aged 75 and older. Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with loved ones, but you don't have to isolate yourself in your room or skip social events. Implement the helpful tips below so you can continue enjoying verbal interactions with friends, family members and other people in your life.
1. Address People by Name
This tip works whether you're the person with hearing loss or someone speaking to a hearing-impaired individual. If you have hearing loss, you may unconsciously block out sounds or find it difficult to identify when someone is speaking to you in a crowded room. Hearing your name helps draw you back into the conversation so you can listen and respond appropriately.
You may also find it helpful to address people by their names if you're the one with hearing loss. This gets their attention and helps you figure out whether it's a good time to talk. Otherwise, you may not notice loved ones are already involved in another conversation or engaged in a television show or song.
2. Face People Directly When Conversing
Nonverbal cues are important in a conversation, especially if you suffer from hearing loss. Watching someone's facial expressions and body movements helps you identify the topic of a conversation even if you miss a few words. Looking directly at another person also makes it easier to figure out when they're speaking to you and when the conversation is complete.
3. Avoid Shouting
Hearing loss makes it difficult to hear, not impossible to hear. Shouting at a loved one with hearing loss may irritate them and make them feel as if you don't respect or value them. Also, it's difficult to understand shouted words because they often become distorted.
You should also avoid shouting if you have hearing loss. Remember, you may not be able to hear others very well, but they can still hear you clearly. It's not necessary to shout during conversations.
4. Repeat Important Information
It's easy to mix up numbers and words even if you don't have hearing loss. You can prevent potential issues by repeating back important information, such as:
- Appointment times
- Phone numbers
- Hours a business is open
- Rules or policies
- Names of new doctors or caretakers
- Dosage requirements for prescription drugs
Failing to verify important information may result in missed appointments or inadequate medical treatment, so don't be embarrassed to repeat what someone says to you.
5. Use a Notepad When Needed
Sometimes it's difficult to understand what a person is saying no matter how many times they repeat themselves, even if you've attempted to clarify the information. It's helpful to carry around a notepad for times like this so you can verify someone else's thoughts or easily express your own.
Explain that you have a hearing impairment or that you're the caretaker of someone who does, then hand the notepad to the person speaking. Ask them to write a quick summary of the conversation or jot down essential info, such as treatment instructions or appointment times.
6. Seek Medical Treatment
If you haven't already done so, schedule a medical appointment to discuss your hearing loss. Many types of hearing loss are irreversible, but treatment may help. Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend hearing aids, antibiotics or surgery.
Many community residents at Brightview Senior Living have hearing loss, but that doesn't stop them from enjoying life. Our residents stay busy with vibrant living programs such as crafts, mind games, social events, exercise classes, card games and much more. We also have restaurant-worthy meals prepared by a skilled chef, as well as cooking classes and gardening. Adventurous seniors can even take our shuttle bus to nearby destinations and explore the area. Brightview Senior Living communities also partner with Evernsound. Residents can utilize the Eversound technology to remove communication barriers, boost engagement, strengthen connection, promote socialization, and benefit from powerful therapeutic benefits.