By Carmen Potterton
According to NIDCD, about one in three people between 65 and 74 has a hearing loss and 47% of those over 75 have a hearing problem. The ability to communicate clearly with others in and of itself can be difficult but when the person you are trying to communicate with has a hearing loss, it becomes even more so.
Have you ever heard “I can hear you but I can't understand you”? The problem is that age-related hearing loss often affects the structure of the inner ear or cochlea and/or the auditory pathways to the brain. This type of hearing problem may not be a volume problem – speaking louder may not help. For these folks, hearing aids only make matters worse, particularly if there is background noise.
Here are a few tips:
Face the person while you speak. Visual queues and expressions help them understand what you are trying to say.
Speak slowly and distinctly (not necessarily louder).
If the person indicates that they can't understand, try to rephrase what you are saying. Repeating is usually not as helpful.
Try to find a quiet and well-lit place to talk.
If all else fails, you can write or draw on paper.
If you have a hearing loss and you or a family member is in crisis or should do some estate planning, it's a good idea to find an elder law attorney. An experienced elder law attorney deals with seniors who have hearing loss all the time. An experienced elder law attorney knows how to communicate your options so that you can determine the best plan for you and your family.