If you have a loved one that is showing signs of losing their hearing, it can be difficult to communicate with them. Most hearing-impaired persons do not want to learn American Sign Language (AS), because they have a voice and want to use it.
It is important to realize the solution for hearing loss is to get them fitted for hearing aids as soon as possible. There is no cure or way to reverse hearing loss, but there are several things you can do to make life easier for both of you.
Here are five things to keep in mind when caring for someone with a hearing loss.
1. Talk Directly
Always talk directly to the hearing-impaired person, even if you are in a group of people. Position yourself in front of the person with the hearing loss so they can read your lips. The rest of the group will be able to hear you just fine.
If the person uses a hearing aid or can hear out of one ear better than the other, be sure to position yourself near that ear. They may not be able to make out some of the words, this position will help them get most of the conversation.
2. Install Flashing Lights
Many times the hearing impaired person will not be able to hear the phone ring or the doorbell. There are several different companies that make adaptors that will flash a regular lamp when the doorbell rings or the person has a phone call.
These types of devices can be a lifesaver for persons who want to continue to live independently for as long as possible. Being able to function like the rest of the population is important to most hearing-impaired individuals.
3. Use Closed Caption
Set the television and computer to use closed captioning. This allows the hearing-impaired individual to enjoy television shows and movies, as well as videos on the computer, just as the hearing world does.
After a set amount of time, the hearing impaired person will become an expert at reading and watching television or videos on the computer. This will also allow them to enjoy the same programs as the rest of the family without having to ask what was said.
4. Invest in A Hearing Dog
It may take some time, but you can train a puppy, or an older dog, to alert the hearing-impaired person when the phone rings, the doorbell goes off, or other things in the kitchen. They can also be trained to wake the person up in an emergency.
There are agencies that provide trained hearing dogs, however, they typically have a long wait list and are generally expensive.
5. Be Patient
The hearing-impaired person simply wants to fit in and be included in conversations and everything going on around them. You will need to be patient with them. By talking directly to them, helping them with phone calls and other chores around the house, you will make their life easier.