Does your loved one have hearing loss? Roughly 50 million Americans have hearing loss, so you probably know at least a couple of people with hearing loss. If your parent, spouse, family member, or friend has a hearing loss, there are several ways you can support your loved one with hearing loss.
Learn More About Hearing Loss
Have you been feeling impatient when your loved one can’t follow conversations? Learning more about hearing loss will help you understand what life is like for your loved one with hearing loss. Hearing loss can be exhausting. Your loved one spends a lot of energy straining to hear, and asks you to repeat yourself several times in every conversation. You both feel frustrated and upset by this poor communication.
Find out more about hearing loss and ask your loved one about their experiences. This can help you increase your patience, and help you find ways to support your loved one.
Advocate for Your Loved One
Are you at a restaurant where the music is very loud? Is your loved one having a hard time following the conversation? Be an advocate for your loved one, and ask the waiter to turn down the background noise. If you’re at a friend’s home, ask your friend to turn off the TV or background noise so that everyone can participate in the conversation.
You can also make these arrangements ahead of time. Call your friend or family member before the party, and ask if they can keep background noise to a minimum. You can also give family members a few tips to help them communicate with your loved one. This can be a huge support, and help your loved one enjoy the gathering.
Supporting Your Loved One During Conversations
When you’re having conversations with your loved one, there are a few simple do’s and don’ts that can go a long way in helping your loved one understand the conversation. Follow these tips during every conversation, and make sure your family and friends learn these tips as well.
- Use body language and facial expressions to help get your message across. Words aren’t the only thing that gives meaning to a conversation. The gestures you make with your hands or your facial expressions can convey your emotions as well.
- Face your loved one when you’re talking to them. Never speak with your back turned away, or with your mouth covered.
- Pull up a chair and sit down with your loved one. If they’re sitting and you’re standing, it will be more difficult for them to see your face clearly, read your facial expressions, and understand what’s being said.
- If there’s a lot of background noise, turn down the TV, or go to a quieter room.
- When your loved one asks you to repeat yourself, rephrase what you said. Repeating word for word may not help your loved one understand. Instead, rephrase your sentence and try again.
- Don’t shout. Speaking louder doesn’t make your words easier to understand. Focus on making your words as clear as possible.
- Plan to have conversations earlier in the day. After a long day of straining to hear, your loved one is more likely to be stressed and tired. Before starting a conversation, always check-in and see how they’re feeling. If your loved one is feeling tired, wait until a better time to have a conversation.
If your loved one is having a hard time understanding you, be patient. Try again and find words that your loved one is able to understand. You can even write down a word that keeps tripping them up. Make sure you don’t get frustrated or say it doesn’t matter. Your relationship is built on communication, and understanding each other does matter.
Encourage your Loved One to Wear Hearing Aids
Your loved one needs additional support to help them hear clearly and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Encourage your loved one to book a hearing test. You can support them by offering to come to the appointment, and help them pick out the right pair of hearing aids. We’re here to support your loved one with expert hearing solutions, and we will welcome you both at the next hearing appointment.