Making Gatherings Easier for Seniors with Hearing Loss
Family gatherings give you a chance to come together with the ones you love and catch up. However, one-third of the people over the age of 70 have a form of hearing loss. This can make it overwhelming for them. Here are some ways to make these family gatherings easier.
Position Yourself to Be Heard and Seen
- Face the person directly so that your face is in plain sight. Do not block your mouth with your hands, or eat while trying to communicate.
- If the person has a favorable ear, sit on that side of them. When starting conversation, be sure you have their attention so that you are both focused on the conversation.
- Consider the lighting or other distractions as well, and avoid interference’s from obscuring the vision of the person with hearing loss.
- Speak in a clear and concise manner, and don’t shout and overemphasize. In fact, exaggerated speech may even make it more difficult for the person to hear what you are saying, as words can sound distorted.
- If the person is having trouble understanding what you are saying, try rephrasing your words rather than repeating them.
- Use facial expressions and gestures, along with words to help them understand what you are saying.
Reduce Background Noise
- Background noise, such as the TV or radio can be distracting and obscure the words you are saying. Relocate to a quieter place if you can to have the best conversation.
- In addition to hearing loss, people with hearing impairments can also be sensitive to loud noises. Be mindful of this when considering background noise.
Encourage Seniors to Wear Their Devices
- Senior citizens might not want to wear their hearing aid because it is uncomfortable. Help them to make sure they are wearing it properly, the volume level is adequate, and that it fits properly.
- If they complain about any of these issues you should get them in touch with their doctor or audiologist so that modifications can be made, or their hearing can be checked to identify any additional loss or problems.
Introduce the Concept of Perceptive Listening
- Use perception, context, visual cues and pieces of the conversation the person has heard to figure out what has been said.
- Encourage the senior in your life to use perceptive listening. It will help them to regain some independence when it comes to communicating with family, as well as with people outside the home.
Show Patience and Understanding
- Hearing loss can have a profound effect on a person’s life and can cause frustration, social withdrawal and depression.
- It is important to include people with hearing loss in conversation, and make your best effort to accommodate their needs.
Doing all of these will ensure that family gatherings are a fun-filled experience for everyone!