As our loved ones grow older, a subtle change occurs in the auditory world. Volumes on the TV are suddenly cranked up past 100; elderly individuals grow frustrated with singers who have started slurring all their words together; and almost every person they come in contact with can’t get through a conversation without being accused of mumbling! It only proves a well known adage: as we enter into our older age, it seems we have to accept a loss of hearing.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), “age related hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions affecting older and elderly adults.” It seems older individuals across the world are connected by their lack of hearing.
Luckily, this large majority is not lost. A home health aide, caregivers, and other health care providers rely on tried and true strategies for communication. The following are a few strategies that caregivers can use to communicate with elderly loved ones!
The best way to ensure that your communication is effective is to speak directly to your loved one. It makes a world of difference when you face the elder in a well lit area. Even if they do not have their full hearing facilities, they can rely on other senses to fill in the conversation. Thus, it helps for them to clearly see your body language, moving lips, and face. These things all coalesce together as a “cheat code” for any frequency lapses in the conversation.
Speak Precisely, without Altering Your Voice
When you are in the right room to speak with your loved one, it’s time to communicate! Your goal is to relay your message as clearly as possible. You’ll want to speak precisely, without speeding up, and with good diction. Yet, take into account that you should still speak naturally. If you adopt a strange accent or affectation, it may exacerbate the communication problems!
Avoid the Tendency to Shout
It’s tempting to think that a lack of communication can be solved through raising your voice. As tempting as this may be, it may not be the best solution. If shouting were correct, every home health care agency would be filled with screaming home health aides!
When we raise our voices into a shout, we distort the quality of sound. The change of pitch can cause further communication issues. Keep in mind that many conversation quandaries are based on a lack of clarity; so, shouting tends not to help anything!