7 Smart Tips for Communicating With Someone Who Has Low Hearing

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Does your loved one seem to ignore what you say half the time? Maybe you're not being heard. Fully one-third of adults over age 65 and about half of those over age 85 have significant hearing loss.

To improve your odds of getting your message across:

1. Realize that you don't have to SHOUT! It's kind of condescending, when you think about it, which starts communication off on the wrong note. Shouting also actually makes enunciation harder to understand.

2. Deliver your message face-to-face, rather than from across the room or from the next room. We all use lip-reading to some extent to help us hear.

3. Turn off the TV or radio to eliminate background noise. Even the low hum of the dishwasher or a leaf blower outside can muffle your words.

4. Don't rely on hearing aids working perfectly. If you find that someone with a hearing aid is having trouble hearing well or isn't using it, ask questions to find out why. Is it uncomfortable? Is ambient sound interfering?

5. Especially with someone who has dementia, avoid talking while coming up from behind him or her. You may not be heard until you're right upon the person, causing your loved one to be startled and flustered -- and not comprehend a word you've said.

6. If the person has vision problems, ask the eye doctor just what his or her range of vision is. For some people, there's little peripheral vision (on the sides), so you must be positioned squarely in front to be seen and understood.

7. Speak slowly and clearly. You don't have to dumb down your speech to robot tones, but try not to rush through your sentences, either. You'll be more easily heard by any listener, of any age or health condition.


5 months ago, said...

If you are communicating with the who have not good hearing, you need to be aware of those things which can create a trouble during your conversation. Learn this tips of this blog to get ideas to make a good communication with them.


over 3 years ago, said...

I just read other comments (after my previous post) and want to reiterate three points made by others: (1) Get the hearing impaired person's attention before you begin to speak; (2) Make sure your mouth is visible (no hands or other objects over the mouth) when speaking, as we often read lips to augment our hearing; and (3) Don't speak to us with food (or other objects) in your mouth.


over 3 years ago, said...

Every one of these points is right on target. I wear two hearing aids and constantly need to instruct people on how I need them to speak to me to be understood, especially over the phone. I am printing this out to keep by my phone and forwarding it to my friends and family who don't quite understand. Thank you for this concise list of pointers!


over 3 years ago, said...

anonymous : u relee hav a prlem unnnerstannnning ussss stip amriccans


over 3 years ago, said...

Dear Anonymous, What planet is your USA on? I have been an American from planet earth since birth. I do not have anything against the letter "T", nor have I had any falling out with the letter "D", and I am not alone by a long shot! Now I will agree with the very poor spelling from our younger generations, but you do not have your facts straight at all, shame on you!


over 3 years ago, said...

For ahbanaei@ hotmail.com (and anyone else in that predicament): I am not an expert on every state's policy, but I know that here in Texas we have DARS (Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services). They have been invaluable to me since I was diagnosed with hearing loss. There is an application process... it does take some time... but the time to get started is NOW! Their mandate, as it was explained to me, is (at least in part) to help you obtain or maintain employment. I encourage you to check out your state's services by searching the web for your state and disability services. Search on "disability services Texas hearing impairment" (substituting your state for Texas)... also, you can ask your audiologist for information about what is available. In Texas there is also a tuition waiver available for the blind and hearing impaired... I hope this information helps you.


over 3 years ago, said...

I laughed when I read your advice Tips for the hearing impaired. . . "speak slowly and clearly" . . what in USA? Americans in all States do not like the letter T, and are now falling out with the letter D as in 'Mil the road', used to be 'Middle of the road', went is wen, can't is the same as 'can', and even the tv announcers do not speak clearly or pronounce the words fully, history channel said 'sell' for the word 'settle' . . . I think there is no hope for respectable speech in the US, only the foreigners by accident will pronounce the word fully, until he/she is more confidenT then he'll start being 'cool' and leave the ends off like true born Americans. Dot com, is pronounced "dat cam' there are no clear 'o,s' anymore, and the A's, as in 'marriage' is pronounced 'merriage', and 'Saturday' is 'Sarraday', it is(pronounced by all TV announcers as 'I IS') disgusting, and goes along with other US mouths = obesity. The worse they speak the more obese they are. The pronounciation means bad spelling too. Oh! poor America . . . .what have you left? money? education? or should you just rely on the 'brain drain'. . . beauTiful country though. My PET GRIEVE is "n a all" for 'not at all', this is almot impossible for any American to say. Thank g-d the Canadians are better, so much more couth too.


over 3 years ago, said...

Sorry! I got it now! I am now 86 with a slight impairment in the right ear: I don't seem to hear certain high pitched sounds, though on the whole my hearing is normal! On the insistence of my friends, I had a digital hearing aid fitted perfectly. However after a few days I had to give it up as not-for-me, useless or worse! All it did was to amplify all sounds: In the lift I could distinctly hear quite loudly the noise generated by the tiny ball-bearings in the tiny wheels above the door when activated. Any sneeze, cough or even throat clearing resulted in a deafening explosion in my ear. IN table conversation (6 - 8 persons) I had to adjust the volume all the time according to who is peaking; how loud or not; his speed, his diction/enunciation/articulation! If it's a case of mumbling (most often), it's a hopeless case for an old man with hearing problems. The sad thing about mumbling is that such people will never admit it! They always shift the blame on the listener. This is manifestly unjust, as if the source is muddled, the outcome can only be worse! The advice given in the article is very apt! It should not be dismissed as plain common sense (though it certainly is). Sometimes common sense is not all that common - sometimes it has to be spelled out! A few care-givers are only to ready to shift blame from themselves by imputing stubbornness on the poor old person, when it is they who are stubborn, in using their possibly usual faulty way of speaking, which is not suitable for old people!


over 3 years ago, said...

I am finding it impossible to post a comment here! maltosk (Oscar)


over 3 years ago, said...

info. re; you do not need to shout, I live in a apartment for seniors and disabled, some are always shouting at the hearing impaired, this can be distracting, I will be able to explain or show with print-out, a better way to get through, then maybe some will try this! The oldest resident living here is 94!


over 3 years ago, said...

very....i hope a lot of folks read and pay attention to it


over 3 years ago, said...

I have a hearing loss from military, years of work in a harsh environment and age. I have a digital hearing aid that works great for someone talking in front of me. But, my wife insists on talking to the refridgerator instead of me and expecting me to understand what she is saying. It seems that she thinks outloud so I don't know when to listen or when to let her ramble on. The television is always on, the dishwasher runs and other noise competes so I just turn everything off mentally.


over 3 years ago, said...

How about how to get that person who is diagnosed with hearing loss to wear one. He thinks we all mumble but he is so stubborn and vain.


over 3 years ago, said...

I am a retired person living on $740 retirment ck. I have lost if I have lost 80% of hearing. I need to work. With hearing chalenge I do not belive I can hold a job. Does any body know if there is any help avaiable out there. I could be reached @ ahbanaei@ hotmail.com. Thanks


over 3 years ago, said...

NUMBERS 1 2 ..


almost 4 years ago, said...

Oticon has good hearing aids and with a streamer there is a volume control and I turn them down when i am in a noisy environment car, bus, train, pub, etc


almost 4 years ago, said...

Well I've just started using my new $7,500 dollar hearing aids, and constantly replacing the expensive batteries, but even so I need to ask my loving, adorable partner of many years, to turn towards me when he speaks. It really makes a difference even with the hearing aids. They are only uncomfortable when the lecture is over and people come up and speak almost into your ears, or the sudden loud sound causes discomfort. Then I take them out. I wear them only for lectures, movies, and at home. But on the street it can be awfully uncomfortable. They don't show and I have short hairstyle, so I'm not showing them off.


almost 4 years ago, said...

yes, this article was very good.....my son plays guitar in a rock band and has for years been exposed to the incredible noise........I will tell him for sure.......


almost 4 years ago, said...

My mom refuses to get tested for hearing.I speak to her facing m her with a low voice...then try louder gradually and she still doesn't hear what I say. I pretty much have to strain my voice at Home. If I am out market shopping with her, I have to ask loudly about what she will eat...because she is very fussy. My voice is loud because she keeps saying "what ?" I don't pay too much attention to others reactions to my speaking loud because it's what I have to do. I write a list of what she needs. When we're in the market if the items are not there,we need to talk alternatives.She's almost 91 and has been doing this on her own for the past 20 years. She needs my help now. I don't know how to handle this any other way??? I am 64 years old and have hearing loss but got hearing aides?