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Ways to Accommodate Your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

You might be surprised at how quickly hearing loss can change a person’s life, mainly if they used to be outgoing. Hearing loss starts in the ears but quickly affects communication, relationships, cognitive function, and even personality changes over time. It’s also a condition that usually worsens over time, so people don’t realize how bad it has gotten or how much their lives have changed until it’s in a pronounced state. 

At this point, trying to fix the harmful effects of hearing loss can be tiring in and of itself. If you care about someone who has trouble hearing, there are several things you can do to help them communicate as well as they can.

Accommodations for those with hearing loss

A “reasonable accommodation” is a change to the environment, the way a curriculum is set up, or a piece of equipment that helps a person with a disability access content and finish tasks. 

Hearing loss is a disability that affects 15% of the US population, so it is likely that someone you know, maybe even a loved one, has this problem. Hearing loss can be helped by a lot more than just speaking louder. Raising your voice can make sounds harder to understand for people who can’t hear well. 

When talking to a loved one with hearing loss, the most important thing to remember is to be patient and remember that clear communication is a way to show love. People with trouble hearing often feel left out and confused in social situations, leading to long-term depression and anxiety. If you take the time to help a loved one hear, they can start to heal

Take into account how you talk.

When talking to someone who has trouble hearing, it’s important to face them, look them in the eye, and say each word clearly. It’s important to speak slowly, but not so slowly, that you sound like you’re talking down to people. As was already said, try not to yell, but make sure they can hear well by choosing a loud volume.

One of the best ways to talk to someone hard of hearing is to ask them what helps them. If they have trouble hearing, they probably know the answers and will have ideas to help them understand what you are saying. For example, some people prefer one over the other, while many others find it very helpful to be able to read lips.

Set the right environment

When talking to someone who has trouble hearing, sometimes where you are can make a big difference. Many people with hearing loss (and even without!) find it hard to keep up with a conversation in a crowded or noisy room where other people are talking or there are other sounds. 

Choose places to talk where it will be quieter, and no one will pay attention to you. Turn down the radio and don’t use noisy appliances until the conversation ends.

When speaking, it might also help to ensure enough light. Make sure your face isn’t hidden, and the other person can see you. Many people who can’t hear rely on body language, facial expressions, and lip-reading to help them understand what they can’t hear. Please don’t talk to someone in another room because they won’t be able to see you, which will make it harder for them to understand you.

Encourage them to treat their hearing loss.

Less than one-third (30%) of adults aged 70 and up with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids have used them. But these unique devices can be set up to boost only the sounds you have trouble hearing. 

Even though you can do things to help the people you care about who have hearing loss, there is no substitute for treatment. When hearing aids are worn daily, you can hear your loved ones better and start to mend rifts caused by years of poor communication. You can get your independence back and do more things, improving your health and mood.

Hearing care can help people in so many ways. If you think a loved one isn’t getting help for hearing loss, a great way to help them is to suggest that they do. You can even offer to set up the appointment and drive them there. Contact us today to set up an appointment for a hearing test and give the gift of communication to someone you care about.