If you have a loved one with hearing loss, then you understand the struggles that affect everyone in the family. Your family member who’s straining to hear gets frustrated, or withdraws from conversations rather than face the embarrassment of mishearing, or answering inappropriately. They may start feeling isolated or ignored, as the grandkids or other family members interact more with the hearing members of the family. Communication is the key to a healthy family, so if a member of your family is living with hearing loss, your entire family could suffer. To keep your family strong, the key is learning how to communicate with your loved one who’s struggling to hear, and ensuring they feel included and loved.
You may have a lot to share, and can’t wait to tell grandma all about your week, but before you start make sure your loved one is paying attention to you, and is ready to listen. If your loved one is making a cup of tea, or has their back to you, they may not understand you, and they might not even realize you’re talking to them! Get their attention by gently touching them or saying their name. Make sure background noises are at a minimum by turning down the radio or TV, so it will be easy for your loved one to hear you.
If you want clear communication, then don’t be afraid to get a little closer. If you’re at a restaurant with your family, or celebrating Thanksgiving together, it can get more than a little loud, and this makes it difficult for your loved one to understand you. Make sure you’re face to face. If they’re sitting down, pull up a chair. Being on eye level will aid in communication, and make it easier for your loved one to read your facial expressions or lips, as well as listening attentively to what you’re saying. Don’t yell at your dad from the kitchen to offer him a drink, but take the time to walk to where he is, and talk to him up close.
You may think that the best way to help your loved one hear is to yell. However, this is the exact opposite of what you should be doing! Being loud doesn’t help your loved one hear. Rather than conveying the meaning of what you’re saying, it just sounds like you’re angry or upset, and that’s not a great way to communicate. Instead of shouting, focus on being clear. Slow down a little bit, but don’t drag out the words. That will make it harder to understand even though you’re trying to be clear. To slow down, add a few pauses to your sentences to allow your loved one time to hear and process what you’re saying.
If your loved one is having trouble hearing you, don’t just keep repeating the same words. The tones you’re using might be especially difficult to understand, and saying the same thing over and over will just make everyone upset. Try paraphrasing. Pick different words, and restate the sentence in a different way to help your loved one understand you.
If a member of your family is struggling to hear, they’re not the only one’s suffering. Your entire family is affected as communication breaks down, creating rifts in relationships, and tension at family dinners. Don’t let this continue unchecked. Take your hearing health seriously, and visit us at Preferred Hearing Centers for a hearing assessment. We’ll evaluate your hearing, and suggest the perfect hearing device that will get your back to communicating easily. If you’re looking for sophisticated hearing aids that will do more than just help you hear, we have quality devices that will fit your needs.
If your family communication is suffering, sit down with the whole family to talk about how to communicate effectively, regardless of who can hear clearly and who can’t. Share these tips and make sure everyone is on the same page, so your family can grow even closer than before. And if you or a loved one has hearing loss that’s impacting you and your family, visit us today to get back to clear hearing.