Elderly Hearing Loss: Communication Advice for Caregiver

Hearing loss affects many people as they get older. This can impact elderlies in a variety of ways, including difficulty hearing alarms like the doorbell and annoyance while watching television.
Communication concerns, on the other hand, are frequently the most difficult for someone with hearing loss. Hearing loss can make it difficult to hold conversations, especially when lipreading is not an option (like while on the phone or while wearing PPE). Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make it easier to communicate with someone who is hard of hearing.

Visit an audiologist for a hearing health evaluation
Audiologists can assess the level of hearing loss and discover the underlying reason. They can assess the loudness with which your loved one begins to hear sounds and differentiate between sounds and comprehended words. Audiologists not only provide remedies such as hearing aids, but they also advice on different methods to cope with hearing loss and assist the elderly accept the situation. Hearing aid technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and many solutions are now considerably more unobtrusive and comfortable than they were previously.

Use Technology
When communicating from a distance, video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Skype can be more convenient than simply conversing on the phone. Many additionally have live captioning (closed captions that are automatically transcribed and displayed on the screen). There are various apps that give call subtitles, as well as specially-built phones that have easy-to-read text on a large screen. Visible doorbell notifications, flashing/vibrating clocks and phones, and specifically built burglar and smoke alarms are also useful.

Speak clearly and slowly
Speak loudly and clearly. Avoid shouting or speaking too slowly, as this may aggravate the problem. Emphasize your speech to highlight the essential parts of the message and be as direct as possible. Before starting a conversation, say the person’s name. This allows them to concentrate their efforts. Check for comprehension by asking the subject to repeat information back to you. If they didn’t understand what you said, say it again using the exact same terms.

Reduce the amount of background noise
As much as possible, reduce background noise. Background noise can be problematic for hearing-impaired people even with hearing aids. This involves turning off televisions and radios, as well as closing windows. If at all possible, try to converse without background noise and choose calm areas to meet.

Check that your mouth is visible
Check that your mouth is visible. This includes making sure there is enough illumination and that you are facing the person you are speaking with.

Before Starting a Conversation, Say Your Loved One’s Name
Allow them the opportunity to focus their attention on you and the conversation. This allows them to avoid missing words at the start of the dialogue.

Make an Expression
When conversing to a loved one, use gestures and be emotive. These nonverbal communication approaches can help transmit information and aid comprehension.

Be Compassionate
Always remember to remain patient. As much as you want the person with hearing loss to understand you, they want to be able to listen as well. Remember that everyone has a preferred method of communication, so inquire how you can help improve your communication.