Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is more common than you might realize. As you move through life, it becomes more and more likely that you or someone you love may struggle to hear. If someone in your life shows signs of hearing loss, there are a number of ways you can support them and help them on their journey. Here are a few suggestions.

Ask them what they need

The first step you can take is to ask how you can help your loved one with hearing loss. This conversation can be challenging if your loved one does not yet recognize his or her hearing loss. However, you can let your loved one know that you are here to help. 

Some people want you to slow down your speaking, while others might find that patronizing. Some people with hearing loss have a specific ear that is better than the other, and it can help if you keep that in mind during conversations. 

As no two hearing loss experiences are identical, no single accommodation strategy can solve all hearing problems for everyone. Still, by asking your loved ones about their needs, you can get a step closer to helping.

Face them and get their attention when talking to them

In noisy situations, listeners have to work harder to understand speech. A moment to prepare for listening can make a difference for someone with hearing loss. 

Always ensure that you face your listener and get their attention before you speak. A simple touch on the shoulder is a way to let them know that you’re going to address them. Calling from another room or talking while you walk in front of or behind your partner is never a good idea. 

Remember: facial expressions, gestures, and movement of the lips are essential to your listener, so ensure your mouth is not covered in any way if you’re in a situation where masks are not required.  

Take into account the noise levels in the environment

Choose a quiet place when meeting up with your loved one. Try finding a restaurant or bar with no background music. Ask to sit away from other guests and the noisy kitchen. If you plan to visit a public place, call ahead and see what accommodation for hearing loss they have. Many museums will have technology on hand which integrates guided tours and lectures with hearing aids (if you or your loved one is wearing them). Some movie theatres and other venues are also equipped with loops or other assistive listening devices. 

Also, consider the directionality of sound. It can help a person understand what you are saying if you place yourself in a position where background noise is projected away, and your voice is projecting towards them.

Help them with the emotional side of hearing loss

Sometimes people with hearing loss feel isolated and frustrated because communication with others is so arduous. Encourage them to share their hearing loss experiences and talk about how their hearing loss affects their everyday life. Simply showing someone that you care and want to hear what they have to say can provide great emotional support to a disability like hearing loss. 

Know when to stop accommodating your loved one’s hearing loss

At some point, your loved one will need to their hearing problem and seek professional help. 

If you find that your loved one accepts your accommodations while refusing to get professional help, don’t let yourself be their facilitator. If you’re always ready to be their translator, it will take longer for them to admit that it’s time to get their hearing tested.

If your loved one has experienced changes in their hearing or finds it harder than ever to communicate, it may be time for a hearing test. Contact us at UpState Hearing Instruments to arrange a complimentary evaluation. The sooner they get treated, the sooner you can go back to communicating effortlessly and enjoying life together.

Kenneth H. Wood, BC-HIS
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