Communicating with Senior Citizens
These are lecture notes to use when talking to people about how to facilitate communications with and between senior citizens.
3/4 of people over age 75, and 90% of people in supported living facilities, have significant hearing impairment.
Symptoms of hearing loss:
- Monopolize conversation - easier to talk than to listen
- Speak unusually loudly or softly
- Anger - paranoia
- Depression - isolation
Complicating factors to hearing loss:
- Loudness sensitivity - "recruitment"
- Sound distortion
Possible causes of hearing loss:
- Circulatory disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- Effects of medications, especially aspirin
- Family history
- Work history
Communication strategies for people suspected of hearing loss:
- Face into the light so listener can see your face
- 3-6 foot distance maximum
- Do not speak loudly or over articulate
- Speak normally, though perhaps a bit slower
- Be alert for the need to rephrase rather than repeat
- Turn off distractions such as the TV and shut the door
Assistive Listening Devices:
- Pocket talker - looks like Walkman with earphones and mike
- Loops - wire around room which can drive hearing aid telephone coil
- Amplifier and earphones for television set
- Amplifier for telephone
Quickie Hearing aid course:
- Offer to help person with their hearing aid
- Take the opportunity to wipe aid of oils and wax
- Check sound outlet for wax and clean if necessary
- Turn aid all the way up - it should whistle
- Block sound outlet - it should not whistle
- Change battery if needed - note shape of battery compartment and shape of battery. DO NOT FORCE ANYTHING
- Encourage listener to visit physician or audiologist if problems are suspected.
- Routine hearing test on annual basis is the norm.
Benefits and limitations of hearing aids:
- Make sound louder and somewhat clearer
- Problems of unilateral fitting (only one hearing aid) and background noise
- Limitations of visual acuity, manual dexterity and tactile sensation.