How to Help Someone With a Speech or Hearing Impairment
If you’re a caregiver, clear communication is a key part of the relationship between you and the person you’re caring for. However, if they’re living with a hearing or speech impairment, communicating effectively can sometimes be a challenge.
In this video, we’ll give you some advice on how to maintain good communication and provide the best care possible to someone with impaired hearing or
If you’re a caregiver, clear communication is a key part of the relationship between you and the person you’re caring for.
However, if they’re living with a hearing or speech impairment, communicating effectively can sometimes be a challenge.
In this video, we’ll give you some advice on how to maintain good communication and provide the best care possible to someone with impaired hearing or speech.
When caring for someone with a hearing impairment, it’s important to avoid things that may startle them.
Always try to approach them from the front so that they can see you coming, and don’t ever touch them without telling them in advance.
It’s a good idea to eliminate background noise whenever possible, so keep any devices like TVs or radios turned off when they’re not in use.
Even if the person you’re caring for still has some hearing capability, don’t try to communicate with them from outside their field of vision.
If they can read lips, make an effort to speak at a normal volume and regular pace. Don’t over-exaggerate your lip movements or shout at them; just because they can’t hear you doesn’t mean they don’t understand.
Maintain eye contact when you’re having a conversation, and remember that even if they have an interpreter you should still be speaking directly to them.
If they’re having trouble understanding you, don’t be afraid to write things down for them. It can help to keep a pad of paper handy or use the notes app on your phone if that’s more convenient.
There are also a number of other smartphone apps available that may help you communicate, including voice processors, vibration-based sound cues, and sign language dictionaries. It’s worth sitting down with the person you’re caring for and taking some time to explore whether any of these apps might be a good fit for them.
Caring for someone with a speech impairment presents its own unique set of challenges.
Not being able to communicate a thought or need can be both frustrating and exhausting, so reassure them that it’s okay to take their time and go at their own pace.
Give them your full attention by removing any audio or visual distractions from the room and maintaining eye contact throughout your conversation.
Don’t talk down to them, and don’t try to finish their sentences to make the conversation move faster. Ask yes or no questions when you need clarification, and don’t just assume that you know what they’re trying to say.
It’s okay to ask them to repeat themselves if you don’t understand, and if you continue to have trouble don’t be embarrassed to ask them to write things down.
Like with hearing impairment, there are a variety of smartphone apps available to help people with speech problems, so take some time to investigate whether any of these apps might work for the person you’re caring for.
Although being a caregiver for someone with a hearing or speech impairment can present certain challenges, it’s far from impossible. By working together, you can develop a system of communication that will make things easier both for them and for you.
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