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Tips for Communicating with the Hearing Impaired

Approximately half of adults beyond the age of 75 have some level of hearing loss. While hearing loss is often viewed as part of the aging process and a minor annoyance, not being able to effectively communicate with others can have a significant impact on health and wellness.

When older adults lose their hearing abilities, conversations become difficult to understand, leaving some seniors feeling confused, embarrassed or even upset because they do not know what is going on. As a result, they may retreat to the privacy of their homes where they feel safe, no longer wanting to attend group activities or engage in beloved past-times.

Watching a senior parent or loved one experience these age-related changes can be difficult to watch. Fortunately, there are ways to help. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Toronto senior home care, encourages families to consider adopting the following four tips for communicating with the hearing impaired.

  1. Eliminate Background Noise – When communicating with your senior loved one, eliminate unnecessary background noise. For instance, turn off the television, radio, or loud household appliances. When visiting a restaurant, avoid seating your loved one near a bustling kitchen or a large group of noisy patrons. If your family attends a place of worship, consider relocating to seats near the front of the building.
  2. Be Expressive – To help a senior understand what you’re saying, communicate expressively. Try to get your point across by using animated facial expressions and hand gestures. In order to be seen, you should always face your loved one when talking with him or her. You should also turn on the lights in the room so that your expressions can be highlighted.
  3. Take Turns Speaking – When your loved one is in a group setting, ensure that people take turns speaking instead of everyone talking at once. When a large group of people talks simultaneously, your loved one might become confused and tune out of the conversation.
  4. Repeat Yourself if Needed – If your aged family member is struggling to comprehend what you’re saying, don’t hesitate to repeat yourself. Consider slightly raising your voice. However, you should avoid the urge to shout at your loved one. Before repeating yourself, think about how you can say what you’re trying to communicate more succinctly and convey your message in fewer words.

If you feel that your loved one has started to withdraw and could use additional companionship or help at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Toronto and learn more about our flexible care schedules. Along with Toronto hourly care, we offer live-in care for seniors need assistance on a 24 hour or overnight basis. Call us today at 416-488-8777 and see how a Home Care Assistance caregiver could benefit your aging parent or loved one.