Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Baltimore

Hearing Loss

Think about the last time you were in a crowded room with kids running around making noise, music in the background, and people chatting. Did you find it hard to focus on what was really being said to you? Did you find you had to work to hear the conversation? Was difficult blocking out the other noises that were either distracting or overpowering the voice of the person speaking to you?

Now imagine you have a hearing loss.

For those with even mild hearing loss, even a one-on-one conversation in a quiet room can be difficult. Phone conversations, which do not allow us the benefit of some body language or unconscious lip reading, can also be challenging for someone with a hearing loss. For these individuals, carrying on a conversation in a noisy environment requires them to “work” twice as hard as someone with normal hearing.

Now imagine the conversation you are trying to have includes some important instructions, such as how to take medicine in advance of a test or how to avoid driving through a dangerous section of town.

It is important for all of us to become sensitive to those who have hearing loss when we are communicating with them. Being proactive in modifying your communication will make it easier and more fulfilling for everyone involved. Remember, many people do not even realize they have a hearing loss (given the gradual progression of most hearing loss and our body’s ability to accommodate) and because many are embarrassed to admit the hearing loss, they continue to struggle to hear.

To enhance communication and make speaking with those who have hearing loss easier, here are some communication strategies for you to use. Whether you’re a family member, friend, or even a caregiver, communication allows us to be involved with someone’s life and allows them to be involved with ours.

What are effective tips for communicating with a hearing impaired person?

In closing, in addition to communicating more effectively with someone with hearing loss, consider being more proactive. If you have a loved one or even a close friend with hearing loss, encourage him or her to get regular check-ups from a doctor of audiology. The doctor will monitor any changes in his or her hearing loss and can recommend treatment options. An audiologist is up-to-date on the latest technology, with advances being brought to market more rapidly than ever as baby boomers are hitting that bearing loss age, after a lifetime of exposure to our noisy society.

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