When providing senior care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep any special needs and accommodations in mind. If your loved one is living with hearing loss, here are some ways to make the “new normal” more accessible
According to recent research, nearly a third of seniors between the age of 65 and 74 experience hearing loss. As people age, hearing loss often becomes more and more of a problem, and during the COVID-19 outbreak, those who struggle with hearing loss are at a disadvantage. Many people across the globe are wearing masks and practicing safe social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, seniors with hearing impairments are finding it far more difficult to communicate effectively with friends and family.
How to Create Safe Ways to Communicate with Elderly Loved Ones Who Have Hearing Loss During the Pandemic
At Senior Homecare by Angels, we have come up with strategies to effectively communicate with seniors who suffer from hearing impairments while still practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
Speech Interpretation Through Masks
For those who are hard of hearing, observing the mouth as it moves is key to understanding speech. Unfortunately, with so many people wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, seniors with hearing impairments may find it almost impossible to understand individuals speaking through masks.
According to a study in the Hearing Review, most of the masks people have been wearing during the pandemic significantly degrade speech quality “to the point of unintelligibility” for those who have trouble hearing.
Speaking Through a Mask
If you have a friend or a loved one who has a hearing impairment, consider practicing the following for easier and safer communication with the elderly.
- Reduce background noises if possible, and make sure you have your listener’s attention
- Ensure seniors who require hearing aids are wearing them
- Make sure your loved one’s hearing aid is working if they have one
- Rephrase remarks that are misunderstood instead of repeating them
- Never shout
- Use your body language
- Speak slowly and clearly
Tips for Seniors
Seniors throughout Canada have experienced issues surrounding wearing masks, from difficulties understanding speech to hearing aids being dislodged. In loud, stressful environments such as hospitals, seniors with hearing loss may have trouble understanding the directions given by nurses or doctors, which can be dangerous.
Here is how seniors who are hard of hearing can safely wear a mask:
- Explain to others that you have trouble with hearing
- Ask others to take turns speaking
- Always face the speaker
- Ask others to speak clearly and slowly
- Slowly remove masks to keep hearing aids in place
- Avoid using masks with ear loops, instead use plastic or fabric mask extenders
If you have a senior loved one who struggles with hearing loss, in-home senior care from Senior Homecare by Angels can help. With our personalized senior care services, your loved one will have a dedicated caregiver to take care of them in their home whenever they need.
To learn more about how our senior care providers can help your loved one, contact your local Senior Homecare by Angels office today!