Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can change life in ways you might not imagine. Whereas you might expect the condition to make talking on the phone difficult, but you might not expect that your loved one would face other symptoms, such as exhaustion, a short temper, and even an overwhelming cognitive load. 

Accommodating hearing loss entails much more than simply speaking more loudly. There are practical steps you can take to make hearing easier and to improve these associated conditions, as well. If there is one principle to remember, it is that patience will make any interaction better for all involved. Those who have hearing loss tend to feel frustrated, anxious, or otherwise overwhelmed in conversations, leading to understandable agitation. If you can keep your cool and remain calm in the face of the struggle to communicate, you can provide better accommodation in other domains, as well. 

Audible Accommodations

When it comes to your speaking style, some people feel the need to change the way they talk in dramatic ways. Although this accommodation strategy can come from the best of intentions, the effect can be demeaning to some people with hearing loss. In the worst cases, slowing down your speech and using simple phrases punctuated by heavy consonants can make it seem like you’re talking to a child. Rather than modifying your speech, why not start with a simple increase in volume. 

Once you are steadily communicating, you can ask your loved one if there is anything you can do to make it easier to understand. Some people would like you to tend toward one “good ear” over the other. Others find it easiest to talk when they are able to see your face and lip movements. Although some people might ask you to slow down your speech, this strategy doesn’t work for everyone. Follow the lead of the person with hearing loss to accommodate effectively.

Positive Positioning

When you speak to someone with hearing loss, positioning is a crucial accommodation strategy. Perhaps the worst thing you can do for a person with hearing loss is to call out from another room. Not only are the material obstructions lowering the volume of your speech, despite your yelling or calling out, you are also invisible to the listener when you are speaking. Although it can be a deeply ingrained habit, make a habit of moving into the same room with the person who has hearing loss before you begin speaking. It is often helpful to stand not only in the same room but also right in front of the person, making it possible to use visual cues to interpret sound. Even when we don’t realize we are doing it, lip reading can be a helpful unconscious aid to what we hear. 

Emotional Empathy

If you find that your accommodation strategies are not solving the communication problems you face with your loved one who has hearing loss, take a moment for active empathy. When you are out and about in the world, you might become frustrated at your loved one’s inability to decipher conversations, putting you in the role of an ad hoc interpreter. Rather than let your frustration get the best of you, why not take a moment to imagine what your loved one is experiencing and to understand the context. When you put yourself in their shoes, you might find that there is something simple you can do to fill in the gaps in the conversation. 

Taking a moment to imagine your loved one’s experience can lead to specific accommodation steps, but it can also help ease your frustration and resistance to the interaction. A simple relay from other speakers to your loved one might be enough to make the conversation easier for everyone involved, and an empathetic mind is the only way to discover how you can best be of assistance. 

Treating Hearing Loss

Although accommodation strategies can make things easier for your loved one with hearing loss, treatment is the only durable option. When you choose to pursue assistance with us, you will get a complete diagnosis of the hearing loss as well as a recommendation of hearing aids that are suited to that diagnosis. Hearing aids can accommodate hearing loss through technology, easing the burden of communication for all involved. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, and reconnect with the ones you love!

March 3 is World Hearing Day: Hearing Care for All

March 3 is World Hearing Day Hearing Care for All

What is your favorite holiday? Although many of us choose those big events that take over our stores and airwaves with the sights and sounds of an entire season, others of us like those quirky days that remind us of something unique. Groundhog Day is a great example of a fun holiday to celebrate the coming of spring, and we can now find a “National _____ Day” for almost anything. Among the contenders for your favorite holiday, why not consider World Hearing Day? 

This annual event is sponsored by the World Health Organization as a way to remind ourselves, loved ones, communities, and indeed the world of the importance of hearing health. Not only do they set aside March 3rd as a holiday each year, but they designate a special theme for the annual event. 

This year, rather than simply focusing on the people who are already engaged in the hearing health care system, the theme expands the boundaries of the hearing community by advocating for “Hearing Care for ALL!” 

Do you know someone who needs hearing care yet hasn’t taken the plunge? Are you concerned for the people in your community who need care but face obstacles? Are you concerned with the world stage on which many people in need of care simply do not have access? If you can answer “Yes” to any of those questions, then World Hearing Day might be a holiday that tops your list!

Our Families and Loved Ones

Advocacy for hearing care can begin right at home with our own loved ones and family members. If you live with someone who has hearing needs, then you might know what a challenging experience it can be for all involved. Not only do they struggle to have conversations and get vital information, they can also have physical, mental, and cognitive health effects that are associated with hearing loss. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is have a conversation about the matter. A simple question can open the door toward disclosure of the ways that hearing loss changes everyday life for your family member. Some people are hesitant to talk about these things, believing that it might change the way others see them. Reassurance that you are there to help and that there is no stigma attached to hearing loss can be all it takes to make your family member or loved one ready to receive hearing care. As a crucial member of the care team, you can look back on World Hearing Day 2021 as a turning point in the hearing health of your family!

Our Neighbors and Communities

Beyond our doors exists a world of community members who need assistance getting hearing care. For some people, this assistance comes in the form of a ride to the audiologist or hearing health professional’s office. If you can offer someone a lift, you can also become a source of moral support through the journey. With so much information to gather and such a whirlwind of options to navigate, some people would like to have a friendly face along for the journey. Getting involved in a senior center or assisted living facility is a great way to advocate for hearing care among your community’s seniors. If you find yourself in the position to assist your community in this way, perhaps this is your way to celebrate World Hearing Day!

Our Sounding World

Throughout the world, people are in need of hearing care yet unable to access those services and devices. What can you do at such a grand scale? Advocacy happens in the big gestures as well as the small moments of our lives. If you simply place a call to your legislator or policymaker, you might not feel like you’re making a big difference on the global stage. Yet, if each of us took that simple step, we would be able to amplify our voices and resound through institutions and government bodies in support of hearing care. However you choose to celebrate World Hearing Day, your participation can be one small step among so many others, adding up to the big picture of a transformative global holiday!