The holiday season is fast approaching and with it additional stress and loneliness for some of our loved ones. The reason? Hearing loss.
The hustle and bustle of parties and family dinners can be difficult for people with hearing loss. Even loved ones with hearing aids may have trouble distinguishing the voices they love from the noises they hate. It creates stress, tension and loneliness even among family and friends.
âIn my work as a hearing care professional, I work daily with people who have a reduced hearing range. Often people are not sure if they really have hearing loss that needs treatment. While I am chatting with them in my office, they will say to me: âI can hear you very well! Â»Â», Says Hanan Merrill, owner of Nanaimo Hearing Clinic. âThere are two big reasons for this, and neither has anything to do with the person with good hearing. First, my office is a quite different environment from “real life”. Second, I have a habit of speaking to people who are hard of hearing and I try to compensate by using many of the tips listed below.
5 ways to help loved ones hear better
At its most basic level, a hearing aid is all that aids hearing – not just the fancy electronic ears that Hanan spends his days fitting and maintaining.
âIf you are planning on spending time with friends or family who have hearing loss, I encourage you to try BEING a hearing aid this holiday season,â he says. “This might just be the best gift this year for someone who struggles to hear, relax, and stay close to those they love.”
- Be aware: If you notice a loved one is silent at a dinner party or holiday party, they may be having trouble hearing. You can help bring them back into the conversation or seek them out for a one-on-one in a quiet corner.
- Turn down the volume: Background music or the TV can make it difficult to listen to a conversation – turn it down or turn it off while people are chatting.
- Turn on the lights: Make it easier for people with hearing loss to see the facial expressions and mouths of those who are speaking. Before you start speaking, grab the person’s attention so they can see your face. At the table, consider seating a hearing-impaired loved one at the end of the table, where it will be easier for them to see everyone’s faces.
- Speak clearly and rephrase if necessary: ââspeak slowly and project your voice without shouting. Try not to interrupt, as this can make it more difficult to follow up on a conversation. If someone asks you to repeat a sentence, try rephrasing to offer more information as well.
- Be an advocate: Stay close to a loved one who is hard of hearing or sit next to someone who will be a patient advocate. Some people are just good at being aware of other people’s needs and repeating things when necessary.
âIf your loved one doesn’t have hearing aids or seems to have a hard time with the ones they have, it may be time for a hearing check-up or hearing aid test. You could kindly ask them if they’ve had a hearing test lately, âHanan says.
For more hearing advice, make an appointment with Nanaimo Hearing Clinic by calling 250-585-4100 or visit nanaimohearingclinic.com/contact. Find the Nanaimo Hearing Clinic at 501-5800 Turner Road at Cactus Club Plaza, Nanaimo.
Health and well-beingSeniors