How to Communicate with an Elder who has Hearing Loss
Is your aging parent suffering from hearing loss? If so, you may automatically think they need a hearing aid, but that is not always the case. In some situations, you can still effectively communicate with your loved one by making changes to how you are trying to speak with them. Whether you are the primary caregiver or the elder is cared for by professional caregivers, these tips will help all who are trying to communicate with your loved one more successful at that task.
- Use their name first. When trying to get their attention, say their name before begin saying what you want to say. For example, if you are looking for something you could say, “Dad, where is the mail?”
- Face them. Before beginning to talk, make sure you are facing them. By letting them see your facial expression, lips, and body language, they will have a better idea of what you are trying to communicate.
- Get rid of distractions. When you are competing with the TV for your loved one’s attention, chances are the elder will be too distracted to pay attention to you. Turn off all distractions in order to make sure the senior knows you are talking to them. This includes the TV, radio, and/or phone.
- Ask them to repeat it back. If you are trying to convey important information, such as a phone number or details for an event, ask the elder to repeat it back. This way, you will know that the elder has all of the correct information and was able to understand you.
- Know when to stop. If your parent is exhausted or ill, they may have a difficult time paying attention to you. In this case, it is better to just give it a rest instead of trying to communicate with them. Allow the elder to feel their best before trying again. If you are concerned that you will forget what you wanted to say, write it down and share it with your loved one when the time is right.
- Listen to them. As much as you would like to be heard, the elder also wants to know that you are listening to them. When the elder knows they are being listened to, they will be more willing to open up to you and share what is on their mind.
With these tips, you will be able to communicate with your elderly parent without having their hearing loss create a barrier.