Caregiver Voices: 8 Tips to Best Care For a Loved One With Hearing Loss

Caregiver Voices is a series I started with all of you in mind. It is meant to give you, the caregiver, the ability to share your story.

So without further ado

This is Lindsey’s Story

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8 Tips to Best Care For a Loved One With Hearing Loss

by Lindsey Banks

My grandmother is 94 years old and has probably had hearing loss for the past 10 years or more. Up until 2 years ago she was living completely independently. Then she had a fall and could no longer walk. She quickly went from living by herself in her home, to living in an assisted living facility with 24/7 care.

The rapid decline in her independence seemed to shine a light on her hearing loss. In the assisted living facility she has to communicate with the nurses and other people she isn’t familiar with, and who don’t always remember that she has a hearing loss. She went from being very social with her friends to being surrounded by strangers. It has become a very lonely place for her.

She could always “get by” without hearing aids before she entered the facility. Now she needs to wear them in order to communicate with all her caregivers.

Even with the use of hearing aids, there are some added challenges involved when it comes to caring for someone with hearing loss. As an Audiologist myself, I understand these challenges very well, but see many people with hearing loss struggling to communicate with their caregivers.

 

Here are some tips that can help make communication easier for the person you care for with hearing loss:

 

1. Speak slower, not louder
Many people think that it is necessary to raise their voice when speaking with someone with hearing loss. In reality, it is better to slow down. The hearing device they wear is already making sounds louder, so raising your voice can make things distorted. Getting their attention first and slowing down your speech will help them to concentrate better on the clarity of your voice.
2. Talk face to face

It can be really easy to talk to someone you are caring for while multitasking, such as while pushing them in the wheelchair. However, it can be really challenging for them to hear you when you’re not facing them. Wait to have a conversation with them until they’re able to see your face. Visual cues, facial expressions, and body language help them fill in the blanks of what they may not hear.

3. Be patient
Even if they have hearing aids, difficulties with hearing will still occur. As a caregiver it is really easy to be impatient and give up on the conversation when they keep asking you to repeat yourself. Try to be patient with them and remember that they desperately want you to continue the conversation.
4. Learn how to help with hearing devices
Many elderly people with hearing devices also have visual impairments and dexterity issues. This can make it difficult for them to clean and care for their hearing aids. I always recommend that caregivers attend the audiology appointments with the person they’re caring for so they can learn how to help out with their devices. The audiologist should show the caregiver how to care for the devices. If they don’t, ask them to show you!

5. Make use of resources

In addition to hearing aids, most state programs provide assistive devices for those with hearing loss, such as amplified telephones https://www.everydayhearing.com/hearing-technology/articles/hearing-impaired-phone/, at no charge. Make sure to use all the resources available to you.

6. Encourage

Many older people with hearing loss are very hesitant to wear hearing aids, or are in denial that they need them. My grandmother still denies she even has a hearing loss and has to be convinced she needs to wear her hearing aids daily. As a caregiver, it is important to encourage them to wear their hearing aids every day even if they don’t want to.

7. Tell others
Make sure to tell everyone involved in their care that they have a hearing loss. The doctors, nurses, and other caregivers should all be aware that they have a hearing loss so that they can make accommodations. It is better to inform them than to assume they know and not communicate critical information well. Also, don’t assume that critical information was heard. Write it down and give it to them as an extra reminder.
8. Be respectful
 It is important to be respectful of the person you’re caring for. Knowing someone has a hearing loss, it can be tempting to talk around them. Be sure that you don’t talk or whisper about the person in front of them. It can create feelings of insecurity and loneliness for your loved one. While caring for someone with hearing loss can have its added challenges, these are 8 things you can do as their caregiver to make communication and life easier for you both.

Author Bio: Lindsey Banks is an Audiologist and cares for people of all ages with hearing loss. She writes about all things related to hearing and hearing technology on her website EverydayHearing.com https://www.everydayhearing.com/


Caregiver Voices is a series I started with all of you in mind. It is meant to give you, the caregiver, the ability to share your story.

At times, caregiving can feel quite isolating and lonely. There are times when I feel like I am the only one who experiences the emotional roller-coaster that comes with being a caregiver.

But then I am reminded by so many of you that I am far from alone. All the positive comments and feedback I’ve received since starting this blog, have inspired me to create this series. In the age of technology and social media, there is no reason we should feel as though we are all in this by ourselves. Every story is different. But we also share similarities.

Do you want your Caregiver Voice to be heard? I’d love to hear your story!

Send me an e-mail via my Contact form HERE.


Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This page contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.

Hearing loss, tips, caregiver, caregiver voices

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