If your aging family member has trouble with her hearing, it can be really difficult for you or some other family members to talk with her easily. Once you have a protocol for doing so, you’ll find the process is much easier.
Reduce Background Noise, if Possible
Background noise can seriously diminish your senior’s ability to communicate if she has even a little bit of hearing loss. If you’re able to do so, reducing background noise in the immediate area can help tremendously. Some situations don’t allow you to do this, however.
Getting Her Attention before Speaking Is Vital
Even if you can’t do anything about background noise, make sure that you have your senior’s attention. Gently touch her hand or arm and wait for eye contact before you say anything. Simply taking this one step can help to reduce a lot of frustration for you and for your elderly family member.
Restrict How Many People Are Speaking
If there are multiple people involved in the conversation, remind everyone to speak one at a time. When everyone is talking at once, it’s difficult for someone with perfect hearing to keep up. Just imagine trying to make sense of that confusing jumble when you can’t hear well enough to distinguish who is even speaking. Gently remind anyone who tries to talk over anyone else that everyone needs to take a turn.
Enunciate and Speak Up
Speaking louder doesn’t necessarily help someone with hearing loss, although this is the tactic that most people try first. You may indeed need to speak a little bit louder than usual, but it’s far more important that you enunciate clearly. Slow your speaking speed, especially if you normally speak rather quickly. Keep your mouth visible as well, which can help your elderly family member to further make out what you’re saying.
Hold onto Your Patience
It’s extremely important that you and other people remain as patient as possible. If you become frustrated or upset while trying to talk with your elderly family member, then the situation is going to derail quickly. Do what you can to help everyone to stay calm and to do what your senior needs in order to be able to communicate with all of you. The entire conversation will go better if you can do this.
Senior care providers can help you to fine-tune some of these tips so that you can tailor them to her unique situation.