Hearing loss is a common health complication that affects many older adults. While it can be an inevitable result of aging most of the time, other causes of hearing loss include hereditary, diseases, lifestyle choices, and environmental conditions. Considering that sound is one of our five human senses, it plays an extremely important role in allowing us to function independently and to go about our day as smoothly as possible. If our hearing is affected, we face challenges in our everyday life, such as listening to information, having a productive conversation, hearing the doorbell, and many more. As such, if your loved ones have hearing loss, there are a few ways you can provide support in order to improve their quality of life.
The number one thing that everyone should avoid doing to loved ones with hearing loss is to invalidate their feelings. Since hearing loss can bring about negative feelings like shame, embarrassment, and anger in them, it’s important to show sympathy and kindness at all times. What’s more, we have to understand that lacking the ability to hear properly can prevent someone from being fully independent, so it’s normal for them to feel easily frustrated and irritated during stressful situations. Therefore, try not to brush off any of their worries and concerns, and instead acknowledge their feelings.
Even though your loved ones cannot hear well, that does not mean they are not important. At the end of the day, they’re still humans and demand respect at all times. Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for people with hearing loss to feel unimportant and inferior, especially when they’re offering opinions and talking to strangers. In order to show respect, you should avoid talking on your loved ones’ behalf, unless they request for it. If you’re having a conversation with them, do remember to speak and enunciate the words clearly in order for them to better understand the speech.
Practice Helpful Speech Techniques
In order to achieve productive communication in which your loved ones can interpret any questions and speech well, you should consider practicing helpful speech techniques. For example, try having the conversation in a well-lit room, where the other party can see the movement of your mouth. What’s more, you can incorporate your hands, facial expressions, and other objects to provide some demonstration, which allows loved ones to quickly pick up on what you’re trying to convey. Avoid speaking too quickly or slowly and you should never ever resort to yelling as it can be seen as too confrontational.
Provide a Suitable Environment
Research has shown that people with hearing loss listen and respond to conversations better when they’re in a quieter environment. As such, if possible, you should provide a suitable environment that’s free of loud noises for your loved ones in order for them to not be exposed to harsh sounds. This is also because loud noises can further damage the eardrums, worsening their hearing loss. You can also consider adding certain furnishings around the house to absorb noises, such as carpets, soft chairs, and curtains.