Seniors Outreach - January 20, 2016

Loss and loneliness can come to mean the same thing for hard of hearing people. Too often they begin to feel isolated and people stop talking with them simply because they don't know how to. A little informed courtesy can go a long way in facilitating communication with hard of hearing people. Here are a few tips to help:
Slower please, not louder. Shouting is embarrassing and unnecessary. In fact, it can cause discomfort to a hearing aid wearer.
The nearer, the clearer. Speak clearly and naturally, perhaps a little slower than usual. Come closer when you speak.
No one has eyes at the back of the head. Many hard of hearing people rely on lip-reading. Wait for the person to look at you before you speak. Be careful not to cover your face as you talk.
Keep it light. Make sure your face is not a shadow. Standing with your back to a window or other light source will cause your face to be shadowed. Candlelight is not for lip-readers.
Take sides. Find out if he or she has a "good" ear. Speak to that side.
Actions speak as loud as words. A "deadpan" face is difficult to read. Remember that the tone of your voice may not be heard, so use facial expression and body language to help project the meaning.
The same-only different. If you notice that he or she did not catch what was said, try rephrasing rather than repeating. Hard of hearing people often hesitate to ask what was said, so be alert to help them when they miss something.
Now...I see. In conversation, give the listener key words or phrases. "Mary was saying that..." Maybe even jot down a clue. Lip-reading is easier when you know the subject.
Me too! Hearing loss may be the "invisible handicap", but the person is still there. Never ignore the hard of hearing person.
Plan Ahead. Hearing loss need not mean loss of fun. For example, when booking theatre tickets, make sure you ask for seats as close to the stage as possible. Any social event, with a little forethought, still can be part of life.
It's hard to hear if you are hard of hearing. Hearing aids do not restore 100% of hearing. Hearing aids amplify sound and increase the distance at which the wearer can hear, but they cannot restore lost frequencies. A little patience can go a long way in helping hard of hearing people feel more at ease.
Service Canada
Seniors Outreach is hosting a Service Canada event this month. Check the "Coming Events" section of the Capital for information on date and time. This session is not only for Seniors receiving benefits but also for those wanting to learn more about planning for retirement and the government benefits available. Call Seniors Outreach at 443-2555 to register.