According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately one in three older adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have difficulty hearing. A variety of reasons can cause hearing loss, and seniors with hearing impairments may find it hard to have conversations with family and friends.

At McClellan Senior Living, we know that hearing impairments can make communication difficult for all of those involved. We would like to give you a few tips to help improve your communication with a parent or loved one dealing with a hearing impairment.

1. Capture Their Attention

Before you begin talking to someone with a hearing impairment, be sure to capture their attention. Saying their name or facing them directly before you initiate a conversation can drastically help, as it allows them to focus on you and what you are saying.

A common issue amongst those with hearing impairments is that, at times, they are unaware that you are talking to them. Going beyond that, make sure you are in the same room when you begin talking, and reduce the distance between you and the person you want to converse with.

2. Reduce Background Noise

A simple and effective way to help improve one’s ability to hear is by reducing background noise. Television, music, and other background noises can make it difficult for anyone to understand what is being said. Before you initiate a conversation, try to reduce the background noise as much as possible. If you are in a public place and are unable to reduce the background noise, try finding a quiet area to talk and avoid large groups or crowds.

3. When in Doubt, Write It Out

If you’re speaking to someone with a hearing impairment and you have a lot to say, or your conversation will involve complicated things such as directions or instructions, write down what you want to say. Writing it down can help prevent confusion and frustration from both parties.

4. Pay Attention

While speaking to someone with a hearing impairment, be sure to pay attention to them. If they have a puzzled look on their face, it could be an indication that they did not hear or understand what you said.  body language is a crucial part of communication.

5. Repeat and Rephrase Yourself When Necessary

Sometimes someone with a hearing impairment may not have heard you the first time; if it’s necessary, repeat yourself. If you’ve repeated yourself and your loved one is still having difficulty understanding you, considering rephrasing what you said; sometimes words can merge together or get jumbled up.

6. Speak Naturally and Be Patient

One of the most common issues for those with hearing impairments is the way some people may approach speaking to them. Raising your voice or yelling is counterproductive as shouting and yelling can distort words. When speaking to a loved one with a hearing impairment, speak naturally, don’t raise your voice, and above all else, be patient. 

The occurrence of hearing impairments among seniors is growing, and while it can be difficult to communicate, following these tips and remaining patient can make a world of difference. We, at McClellan Senior Living, hope you found these tips helpful, and we invite you to find more tips and information regarding senior living on our blog!

Senior women talking while stroking kitten at nursing home

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