Communicating With Seniors Experiencing Hearing Loss

Does it seem as though more and more frequently you’re receiving blank stares or questions such like, “What did you say?” and, “Could you please repeat that?” from a senior loved one experiencing reduced hearing? It may actually be that the senior’s hearing loss isn’t worsening; the issue may actually be a result of your pronunciation and overall communication style. Keep in mind that for those with hearing problems, a number of factors such as background distractions, unclear speech, and even the pitch of a person’s voice can make it all the more challenging to capture what’s being said and respond.

At Home & Hearth Caregivers of Chicago, we provide professional assistance for older adults with hearing loss, and have a few strategies to share to help you better communicate with your senior loved ones.

  • Prior to speaking, make sure you have the attention of the person struggling with hearing loss
  • Speak up (without yelling), as clearly and naturally as possible
  • Try not to overemphasize your speech sounds or talk too slowly
  • Turn off the television or radio to minimize background noise
  • Write down information such as directions that are important, allowing the person to read your communication instead
  • Be sure not to cover your mouth with your hand or anything else when speaking
  • If you have a mustache or beard, consider trimming it so your lips are easier to read
  • Rephrase a sentence that the senior doesn’t understand, rather than repeating it
  • Ask the senior with hearing loss to repeat crucial information to ensure you’ve been heard
  • When visiting a restaurant, select one that is quiet and well-lit
  • In group settings, help the senior engage in the conversation, punch lines of jokes, context, and help keep him or her up to speed when topics change

If implementing these ideas still results in an increase in communication difficulties, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your senior loved one’s physician to determine if another course of action is available to help. An adjustment to the senior’s hearing aid may be required, or there may be other options such as surgery to consider to improve his or her hearing quality.

For more communication tips and other resources on helping older loved ones with hearing loss to thrive at home, contact Home & Hearth Caregivers of Chicago. We offer professional, personalized in-home care for individuals who suffer from hearing loss and any other conditions of aging, as well as advice and guidance for friends and family who serve as their caregivers. With services available throughout Chicagoland, you can reach us any time at 800-349-0663 to learn more.

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6432 Joliet Road
Countryside, IL

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