Dealing with communication issues is challenging for everyone, but it can be tricky to communicate with a hearing-impaired person. However, some strategies can help improve communication with hearing impaired senior that you may know. Here are some tips:
Get Their Attention
When communicating with your hearing-impaired loved one, you must ensure they can see your face and eyes. If you need to get their attention, try saying their name or calling them in a clear and calm voice. You can also use gestures or facial expressions if you don’t want to speak out loud.
If the person does not look at you after calling their name or using gestures or facial expressions, wait for around one minute before trying again. It may take some time for them to respond because they may be distracted by activities or events or simply because they are having trouble concentrating on anything other than what is being said by another speaker.
When speaking to a hearing-impaired person, you must communicate clearly. Most of us already know this, but we often forget about it when we are in the moment. For example:
- Speak at an average volume
- Avoid speaking loudly (which does not help)
- Avoid talking too fast (which also doesn’t help)
- Avoid talking too slowly (same deal)
It’s important not to make sudden changes in your speech pattern or tone because that can confuse your loved one, who may have trouble understanding you. Other things that should be avoided include:
- Speaking with an accent or lisp if possible (it might be difficult for them to understand some words)
- Using slang terms that could mean something different than what they think it means
Be aware of Background Noise
Minimizing background noise is essential when communicating with your hearing-impaired loved one. Background noise, like a television or music playing in the background, can interfere with someone’s ability to hear you. It also makes conversations more distracting and frustrating for both of you.
Give Them Time To Think
If a person does seem to understand what you are saying but is having difficulty finding the words to respond, help them by giving them time to think. Don’t rush or interrupt them—these things can cause stress and make it more difficult for people with hearing impairments to communicate effectively. Instead of saying “I know what you mean” or “I’ll just explain it again,” allow the person with a hearing impairment time to process what you have said and come up with an appropriate response on their own.
Use Open-Ended Questions
Asking open-ended questions is an easy way to assess what a loved one has heard accurately. Questions that require more than a yes or no answer allow the person to respond with a sentence, not just an explanation. This will enable you to get more information and understand how they feel or interpret the question. As examples:
- “What did you think of that movie?”
- “I noticed you seemed like you were having fun, so tell me about it!”
Take It Slow and Be Understanding
When communicating with a hearing-impaired person, both parties involved in the conversation must make an effort to understand each other. It is not only their responsibility but yours as well! You should listen carefully and be patient when they speak so you can ask them questions if you do not understand something. It is also helpful to repeat yourself if they did not hear what you said clearly. Now that you know how to communicate effectively with a hearing-impaired senior, you can rest assured that your relationship will flourish as both of you become better communicators.