If you have a loved one with hearing loss, you might wonder what you can do to best accommodate their needs. Although you can listen to the requests of others with hearing loss and try to imagine what life might be like with a hearing impairment, it can be difficult to know how to support your loved one. Putting yourself in their shoes is one way to get creative with your care, but the best thing you can do is find out directly what they desire in the form of support. Let’s take a moment to consider how you can accommodate the needs of your loved one who has hearing loss. Once you have a better sense of what they need to thrive, you can step up and offer these forms of support right away.
Begin with a Conversation
Although you can listen to others with hearing loss to get a sense of the general approaches to accommodations, the best way to begin offering support is to ask your loved one directly. When you engage in this conversation, try starting with open-ended questions. You might ask your loved one to recall a recent experience of difficulty hearing. Ask what might have been different in that situation to make it easier. Your loved one likely has a clear sense of the obstacles they face, as well as the ways that you might have changed the circumstances. Listen carefully in this conversation, and try not to jump in with your own perspective. Particularly when it comes to conversational accommodations, each person has a unique preference. Whereas one person with hearing loss might want you to speak more loudly or clearly, another person might find that embarrassing. The more you are able to hear your loved one’s perspective, the more precise your accommodations can be in the future.
Trust the Experts
In addition to the direct requests you hear from your loved one, you can trust the experts when it comes to accommodation strategies. Your loved one might not even realize what can be done to make communication easier. For instance, standing in the same room with your loved one provides a number of supportive accommodations. Not only is your voice louder but this physical presence also makes it possible for your loved one to read your lips or watch your facial expressions and gestures. This combination of sensory information can complete the communication process for you. Experts also recommend finding a quiet time to communicate about important matters. Though your loved one might not realize it, the emotional context of that conversation makes a huge difference in your ability to communicate.
Get Creative with Support
Technology can support your loved one, as well. Features such as closed captioning, telephones for the hearing impaired, and specialized emergency alert systems are all available to make your loved one’s life easier and safer. You can consult with a hearing specialist or take a look online to find out the unique technologies for accommodating hearing loss, and you might be surprised at some of the innovations that are available. Particularly when it comes to Smart Home features, you can find ways to communicate with devices that will make your loved one’s hearing a smaller part of the process of daily life.
Accommodations for hearing loss can go a long way toward providing better communication and reliable safety, but these measures are not enough to meet all of your loved one’s needs. The best support you can offer is encouragement and assistance with seeking treatment. Begin by having a conversation about the availability of hearing aids and other assistive technology. If your loved one is open to getting help, you can offer your moral support and friendly presence through the process of scheduling and attending the hearing test, consultation, and hearing aid fitting appointments. Helping your loved one receive treatment for hearing loss is the best thing you can do to accommodate future needs. Although hearing loss accommodations can be individualized and hard to predict, in some cases, the benefits of hearing aids are widespread and broadly appreciated. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation with your loved one about the benefits of treatment.