Hearing Loss? You’ll Need These 8 Communication Tips

Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have some type of hearing loss?

This makes it difficult to communicate and accomplish everyday tasks. It may even feel isolating. In certain cases, hearing loss may be an early sign of dementia.

We’ll look at some of the common causes of hearing loss as well as some interesting tips to help you more effectively communicate if you have difficulty hearing.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

There are several causes of hearing loss. We’ve outlined a few of them below:

  • Damage to the inner ear
  • Buildup of earwax
  • Ear infections
  • Abnormal bone growths
  • Tumors
  • Ruptured eardrums
  • Extensive exposure to loud noises
  • Age-related changes to the ear
  • High blood pressure or diabetes can contribute to hearing loss

8 Communications Tips for Those With Hearing Loss

1. Make Sure People Know How to Speak with You

Is it difficult to hear if someone is talking behind you? What about if someone is calling to you from another room?

If it’s difficult to hear in these situations, please let your family, loved ones and caregivers know. By making them aware, you can eliminate frustration and improve communication.

2. Prepare Yourself for Conversations Ahead of Time

Of course, you can’t predict what people will talk about, but you can stay up to date on current events or movies. Why? Because these are likely to be mentioned in conversation. Being familiar with them will help you notice certain cues.

3. Review the Names of Guests Before They Arrive

This is particularly useful if you’re having a party where there may be new people. Familiarizing yourself with their names can help you understand conversations and introductions in particular.

4. Ask Speakers to Face You When They Are Speaking

Typically, you will hear sounds more clearly when speakers are directly facing you.

In addition, this will help you notice conversational tones through facial expressions. Even if you don’t read lips, watching the speaker will help you decipher their emotions.

5. Eliminate Distractions

When possible, try to avoid being in an environment with lots of distractions. For example, you should turn off or mute the TV when you’re trying to have a conversation. If you plan to go to a restaurant, try to go during a time when it is less busy, because often background noise can interfere with your ability to comprehend.

6. Ask the Speaker to Write It Down

If you’re having difficulty with a word or what the speaker is saying, feel free to ask them to write it down. You may also find it useful to ask for a topic or key word so you can understand the main facet of the conversation.

7. Suggest Ways that The Speaker Can Help You

Are there different environments that are more conducive to understanding than others? Maybe a friend needs to speak clearer when they talk to you.

Don’t be afraid to suggest ways that your friends and family can help you participate in a meaningful conversation.

8. Look at Gestures for Clues

Many people tend to talk with their hands. Often, these can provide clues to the topic of conversation and sometimes even the mood of the speaker.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone to make gestures if it will help you understand better.

What Are Three Types of Hearing Loss?

There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural and mixed.

  • Conductive hearing loss is due to problems with the outer or middle ear.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear.
  • Mixed hearing loss involves a combination of the two.

Can Hearing Loss be Reversed?

Again, this depends upon the exact cause of your hearing loss. Some types may be reversible while others aren’t.

For example:

If your hearing loss is caused by wax buildup or an ear infection, it is usually reversible. When the ear wax is removed and the infection treated, your hearing should return to normal.

Even sudden hearing loss may be reversed depending upon the underlying cause. For example, if the eardrum is damaged, surgery may be used to correct the condition. Hearing usually returns once the injury is resolved.

Hearing loss related to age is not reversible.

However, there is always new research and developments on the horizon. In the future, all types of hearing loss may be reversible depending upon new treatments and techniques.

How West Bladen Can Help Those With Hearing Loss

It’s challenging and frustrating to live with hearing loss. Often, it may make you feel isolated and lonely.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in an environment where others understood what you were coping with?

That is why, at West Bladen, our assisted living is perfect for those who are independent but just need a helping hand now and again. Through our community, we allow you to step out of your role as caregiver and back into your role as son, daughter or spouse.

West Bladen is family owned—meaning we have a vested interest in our community and in the people who make it special.

Want to learn more? Contact us for information on how to reserve a tour.