Hearing loss is an extremely common issue of aging. Many adults cope with some diminishment in their ability to hearing clearly, which can make a tremendous difference in their quality of life. This is especially true for those seniors who have always enjoyed an active social life and enjoy being around others. No longer being able to hear as clearly can make them feel as though they are disconnected from the rest of the gathering. They may also feel embarrassed by their limitation and choose instead to withdraw from the event rather than facing the discomfort of not being able to follow the conversation.
Use these tips to help keep a senior who is losing their hearing part of the conversation at a social gathering:
Create a quiet space.While you can do little to control the noise in a public space such as a restaurant, if you are gathering in your or your parent’s home, create an area that is designated as quiet. Separate this space from the main meeting area that can become very noisy and allow this to be where your parent talks to people. This will allow them to enjoy personal conversations while not having to struggle to hear over the volume of the rest of the people.
Arrange strategically. If everyone is sitting such as at a dinner gathering, make sure that you choose where your parent sits carefully. Putting them in the center of the group rather than at an end will help them to hear everyone speaking more clearly. Try to position them with their back to a wall or other quiet area rather than toward other people. This will help the voices of those speaking to them seem louder and prevent other noises from interfering with what they are saying.
Direct your speech. Make an effort to direct your speech toward your parent as much as possible. Look in their direction and speak clearly so that they are better able to hear you. Those around you will take your lead and repeat this action, making it easier for your parent to follow what others are saying.
Control the chaos.Do your best to discourage overlapping voices and multiple conversations going on at once. This can make it extremely difficult for your parent to hear what anyone is saying, even if they are saying it directly to your senior.
Consider home care.One of the greatest challenges of not being able to hear clearly when at a social gathering is the feeling of disconnect and as if they are being left out of what is happening around them. Having an in home care provider with them can give your parent a companion with whom they can carry on their own conversation. This care provider can also help to clarify what others have said to your parent so that they can carry on with the other conversations as well. This will make them feel more involved and give you peace of mind that your parent is not on their own.