As we age, we can start to lose some of our hearing. While not everyone develops hearing issues, many people do. As a result, their relatives can find it hard to communicate with them. If this is something you have experienced, don’t worry. This article can help you to communicate with your relative more easily. You can also learn how to help your relative deal with hearing loss.
Talking To a Relative With Hearing Loss
Here are a few tips that can help you to talk to your relative:
- Find a quiet place to talk to them
- Look for a well-lit area so they can lip read and see your expressions
- Face the person you’re talking to and keep eye contact
- Repeat yourself if you need to
- Speak a little louder than usual without shouting
- Speak a little more slowly, but naturally
- Ensure one person at a time is taking
- Don’t cover your mouth unless you need to wear a face mask
- Be patient and relaxed
Anyone living with hearing loss is likely to appreciate your help. However, make sure you don’t infantalize them. They are still adults, they are just dealing with some hearing loss.
Understand that everyone reacts to hearing loss a little differently:
- One person may choose to ignore their hearing loss
- Someone else might feel angry
- Another person could feel sad that they no longer hear as well
- Someone else could be happy to deal with their hearing loss
Be there for your elderly relative as they could feel upset about losing their hearing. Talk to them about their feelings and understand that it’s OK to be upset.
Talk About Hearing Aids
These days, hearing aids are quite small and they can be relatively easy to hide. Working to amplify some sounds, hearing aids can be a great help to those who have experienced hearing loss.
Talk to your elderly relative about hearing aids. They may be unsure about using them, but they could help. However, try not to pressure anyone into wearing hearing aids.
Ask About Their Communication Preferences
Some people might prefer to use verbal communication. However, your relative could prefer to use written communication. Everyone is different so it’s worth asking your relative what they want.
If your relative wants to learn sign language, encourage them. They could get a lot of support from the deaf community in addition to learning something.
Use Visual Cues
As humans, we tend to use a lot of visual cues to help us to communicate. We take a look at:
- A person’s body language
- How someone is standing
- What gestures they’re making
- And occasionally what they’re wearing
When it comes to helping someone to communicate with you, use visual cues. They may get a lot from what you’re saying by watching what your hands are doing.
Your facial expressions can also be a good indicator.
Learning to communicate differently with someone can be challenging. However, it’s important that you’re understanding. You might find it hard to communicate with your elderly relative. At the same time, your elderly relative can be finding it hard to communicate with everyone.
Be patient, take your time, and show that you care.
When you take your time, your relative is more likely to feel at ease. The way you act can have a big impact on how they feel. Be understanding and be kind.
Ask Them To Seek Medical Advice
If your elderly relative has experienced sudden hearing loss, ask them to seek medical advice. Even if their hearing loss was gradual, it’s worth asking for help.
Your relative’s doctor could:
- Take a look at their ears
- Prescribe medication, if required
- Talk to your relative about hearing aids
- Keep a track of your loved one’s hearing
- Make your relative feel better about their hearing loss
- Help your relative to understand that they can get help
Sometimes getting advice from a medical professional can help. Your elderly relative could be given a lot of options to consider. They may also feel a bit more positive about the future.
Alternatively, if they have received bad news, your relative may have some treatment options. Either way, with your support, your relative can feel their hearing loss is more manageable.
Losing some or all of your hearing is never pleasant. However, when an elderly relative experiences hearing loss, you can help them.