How Families Can Help Each Other Hear Better
Communication can be difficult when mom or dad or grandma or grandpa have hearing loss. These tips below will help your family keep communication strong.
Think about your position. Someone with hearing loss will have difficulty hearing sound from behind, across the table or even from another room. Communicate face to face when possible for more success.
Think about how you speak. Don’t shout, speak too slowly or overemphasize words. These types of mistakes commonly lead to hurt feelings and frustration and even embarrassment by the person who has hearing loss. Speak clearly, and when understanding is difficult, try rephrasing instead of repeating over and over.
Think about noise. What is just background noise to many of us can be very distracting for those with hearing loss. When possible, reduce background noises like the television or radio, so the conversation can be the focus. In a noisy restaurant, request the quietest corner and be sure to sit close.
Think about your reaction. Do you get frustrated and angry when your family member can’t hear what you said? Do you even avoid communicating? Your loved one can feel your frustration which can cause them to withdraw as well. It is common to experience depression with hearing loss. Communication is the key to staying involved with family and the larger community, and when we are active we are less likely to be depressed.
Think about how you can help. Hearing loss is a profound change for your family member. They will be dealing with new feelings, experiences and also a lot of new information. Your loved one may appreciate you attending a doctor’s appointment or meeting after to discuss results and options. Talk to your family member and let them know you are there to help and offer support when and where they need it.
Finally, talk to the children or grandchildren in your family and make sure they understand hearing loss. Give children time to ask questions and even role play some situations where they can practice good communication skills.