Connecting People | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

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Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center / April 25, 2022

As we age, it is important to stay up to date with our health. This includes regular screenings with our doctors and monitoring how we feel, anticipating any possible health concerns before they become escalate into issues. However, one area of our health which is commonly overlooked is our hearing

Hearing loss affects one in three seniors over 65 and half of all seniors 75 and older. It’s all too common for people to live with a hearing loss, on average for 10 years before they act around an impairment. With the arrival of May comes Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) an annual month-long campaign led by ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). ASHA aims to raise awareness around hearing loss and stress the importance of treatment. This year’s theme is “Connecting People”. For seniors, the importance of acting cannot be stressed enough!

Older Adults and Communication Issues

For older adults who often have a compound of health issues hearing loss can be one more health concern. However, it’s important to note that hearing loss often increases the likeliness of other conditions such as a greater risk of falls and an increased likeliness of dementia. Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with others and this can exasperate social situations, making what may have at one time been nourishing, an exhausting experience. Seniors who experience age-related hearing impairment often feel isolated and may withdraw from social situations, which can take a terrible toll on their overall quality of life.

Communicating with Elderly Loved Ones

Even with the use of hearing aids, it can often be difficult for seniors to follow a conversation. However, some techniques will give them more of a chance of following a conversation between the two of you: 

Get Their Attention: When listening with hearing loss it takes a sort of presence and focus. Before you begin speaking to someone with a known hearing loss, be sure to get their attention before you begin to speak. This allows them to prepare their poise and get ready to listen. You can achieve this by saying their name or even a gentle tap on the shoulder if appropriate.

Reduce Background Noise: Listening amongst competing sounds is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for hearing impaired people no matter their age or if they use hearing aids or not. It can be incredibly confusing to prioritize which conversation to focus on. If you are wanting to socialize with your elderly loved one with hearing loss, take care to choose a quiet location. Avoid a busy restaurant or party. If you are in a loud setting and you need to speak suggest changing location so you can speak. 

Enunciate and Project: It’s important to always fact the person you are speaking to when they struggle with a hearing impairment. This helps them stay focused and gives them a chance to focus on visual cues such as facial expressions and lip-reading. Now that you have your attention, make sure to speak clearly, pronouncing as clearly as possible. This aids in lip reading and gives them time to catch up. Speak at an even pace and take pauses at the end of sentences to allow for the listener to process the information before moving to the next idea.

Repeat Yourself: It’s common for loved ones with hearing loss to have to ask for things to be repeated frequently. However, even after multiple repeats of the same phrase, sometimes it can still be difficult to follow. Instead of repeating, try rephrasing the statement. If it’s a tone or pitch within the statement that is giving the listener trouble, rephrasing provides added context and perhaps avoids this tone. 

Be Compassionate and Understanding

Communicating with someone with a hearing loss is difficult but it’s important to remember that while it may be frustrating at times, you communicate as an act of care and love. Be patient and take the time to ensure that your loved one has the gift of communication. Ask them what helps them understand and take the time to truly try it. You may be surprised at how much your communication with your loved ones improves. 

Helping to Improve Quality of Life

If you think someone you love has a new or worsening hearing problem, suggest they see a doctor for a hearing test.  This May, take your loved one to have their hearing assessed. We can help you find the best treatment to improve their quality of life.

SCHEDULE A FREE HEARING TEST!

Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center offers complete audiometric evaluations, ear wax removal, hearing aid sales, repairs & programming, and related products & services.
request an appointment today!

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