Aging is a complicated process that is unique to each individual. Your loved one may be struggling with a myriad of ever-changing issues that include declining health, mobility loss, memory fade, vision loss or hearing loss. The best way to provide help for your loved one is to acknowledge these issues head on. You must accept the reality of these changes to help your loved one come to terms with the fact that they are aging. For those with elderly family members challenged by hearing loss, here is a list of the 10 best ways to help a loved one who has been struggling.
Don’t ignore the problem.
If you suspect that your loved one is having difficulty hearing the television or keeping up with conversations around them, address the issue with them. Be gentle but firm when you bring it up. Don’t make them feel defensive, but don’t let them shrug it off either.
Harness the power of the internet.
Have them take a hearing test online before you broach the subject of a visit to the ENT or hearing center. This may be a necessary step in allowing your loved one to admit that they have a problem.
Suggest a trip to an audiologist.
By going to an audiologist, your loved one can learn how much hearing loss is being experienced. People often don’t realize the extent of the loss of hearing until accurately diagnosed by a professional.
Get your loved one’s attention.
Those who experience hearing loss often need help knowing what sounds to focus on. That’s why it’s important to get your loved one’s attention prior to beginning a conversation. Being face-to-face with your loved one is the best way to hold a conversation.
Eliminate unnecessary background noise.
Before engaging in a discussion, do what you can to eliminate distractions. The ability to filter extraneous noises diminishes with hearing loss. Your loved one may not be able to hear your voice in an already loud or chatty room. Lower the television or music before attempting conversation.
Do not raise your voice to emphasize a point or ensure that your loved one can hear you. It will make them feel conspicuous and cause embarrassment, even if it’s just the two of you in the room.
Suggest they join a support group.
At a support group, your loved one can commiserate with others experiencing similar issues and will learn ways that others cope with hearing loss. They may even make new friends.
Recommend the use of hearing aids.
Try to dispel any stigma that is associated with using hearing aids to improve communication. Today’s hearing aids are so small that they are often completely unnoticed.
Investigate supplemental ways of communicating
Find the best ways to communicate to include those with hearing loss in the conversation. Perhaps TTY/TDD devices or video chats can be used to lessen the isolation your loved one may be feeling.
As frustrating as it may be for you to repeat everything you are saying, remember it is equally, if not more, frustrating for your loved one. Be willing to fill in the gaps if they miss part of the conversation. Patience is the ultimate gift that you can give your loved one as they continue to age.
Hearing loss is a complication of aging that can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to be. Treated with respect and assisted by technology, many seniors continue to live full and happy lives despite suffering hearing loss. At Golden Bell Senior Care Residences, we provide many levels of care to our aging population and are equipped to provide assistance to your loved one with hearing loss. Call us at 1-877-311-1700. We are here to help!