Coping with a Loved One’s Hearing Loss — by Katie Schwartz

Some of  us have extra-sharp hearing, and others begin to lose their hearing at different times. For the first time in history, 20% of those in their late teens and early 20’s are reporting signs of a hearing loss – a problem that will cause major challenges for commerce and industry. (One cause for this is loud music played through earbuds for too long.)  Presbycusis, hearing loss caused by age,  is another challenge, and often starts in the late 50’s or early 60’s. By age 65, one third of Americans experience this problem. There are simple, practical strategies that can help. Here are three taken from the e-book, “What did you say?”

First, reduce or eliminate competing noises. For example, turn off the water or the TV before speaking to the person. In a car, roll up the windows and turn off the radio before talking.

Second,  call the person’s name and face him so he can get some clues from lip-reading you. Many people can do some simple lip-reading without trying. For example, if someone says “big” vs “rig”, you may be able to tell the difference.

Third,  consider assistive devices, such as the Pocketalker Pro© or even an app. The Ear Trumpet© app can be customized for different types of hearing losses, and use with an earbud or a headphone with a remote mike.

Get an audiological evaluation from a licensed audiologist to determine the severity and type of hearing loss, as well as to determine whether hearing aids are recommended.

In the meantime, use these tips from “What did you say?” to improve communication now!

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Katie Schwartz

Katie Schwartz, CCC-SLP, is the director of Business Speech Improvement. She provides intensive, customized training in American English Pronunciation Improvement for Non-native Professionals, regional accent modification, presentation skills, communication skills for leadership development, and much more. Training is offered through small group seminars, individual coaching and e-books. She is an author and speaker, as well. To subscribe to her free e-zine, visit her homepage.
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