How to help loved ones with hearing loss on Thanksgiving

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ASHA offers counseling to families of 48 million Americans with hearing loss

ROCKVILLE, MD., November 17 2021 / PRNewswire / – As many extended families prepare to reunite for their first Thanksgiving dinner since the start of the pandemic, experts in the American Speech-Language Pathology and Hearing Association (ASHA) offer tips on how to help loved ones with hearing loss participate more fully in these celebrations.

Discover the interactive multi-channel press release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8830852-asha-tips-to-help-loved-ones-with-hearing-loss-at-thanksgiving/

Tips for family members

Over 48 million Americans have hearing loss. A recent national survey by ASHA and YouGov found that nearly half of American adults (46%) report having a close family member or loved one who has difficulty hearing. And although untreated hearing loss is associated with a poor quality of life as well as an increased risk for cognitive decline and dementia, depression, falls, and a host of other serious conditions, many adults do not. not seek treatment for years, if not decades, if ever. .

“While it will no doubt be a joyful time for loved ones to reconnect after missing many vacations together due to COVID-19, some may notice that a loved one has a harder time understanding or keeping up with others. the conversation – or perhaps seem more withdrawn than the last time they were together, ”said A. Lynn williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2021 ASHA President. “These are telltale signs of hearing loss. Families can help loved ones better enjoy important celebrations and can be an integral voice in encouraging them to seek help for their hearing loss.”

ASHA advises families to do the following to help family members with hearing difficulties:

  • Reduce background noise. Competing noise from the television or radio can make hearing more difficult.

  • Take turns while talking. It can be difficult to follow the conversation when several people are talking at the same time. Encourage everyone to adopt this practice.

  • Speak clearly, but don’t yell. Louder isn’t necessarily clearer, and no one likes to be yelled at when they’re trying to have fun.

  • Face your loved one directly as you speak. Do not turn your back on the person you are talking to and do not shout from another room. People often need to see your lips and facial expressions to understand what you are saying.

  • Use good lighting. A dark room will limit the visual cues (for example, mouth movements) that people with hearing loss often use to help them read what someone is saying.

  • Be patient. Try not to get angry if you have to repeat your message. If someone doesn’t understand you the first time around, rephrase what you said. Don’t give up on communicating!

  • Place guests strategically. Organize the dinner table with the conversation in mind. Sit the hearing impaired person next to someone who will help them stay involved.

  • Understand the impact of masks. Some family members may choose to wear masks while not actively eating. While masks are an important protective measure against COVID-19, they can dampen sound and make communication more difficult. Find tips to help you here.

  • Learn the signs of hearing loss. These include turning up the volume on the television beyond what is comfortable for others, requiring frequent repetition of speech, and appearing irritable or withdrawn.

  • Encourage your loved one to seek help. A person might not think their hearing is so bad. But many people underestimate their level of hearing loss. Be gentle but persistent. Let them know that you are worried, that treatment can greatly improve their life, and that you can help them.

Act now on hearing
At first, family members and friends can visit www.ActNowonHearing.com. There they will find information about the signs of hearing loss, treatment options, and how certified audiologists can help.

Media contact: Francine Pierson, ASHA, [email protected] and 301-296-8715

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SOURCE American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)


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