One of the major reasons grandparents seek hearing tests is because they struggle to hear their grandchildren, according to Medical News Today. The unique high-frequency sound associated with a child’s voice can be particularly challenging for people with hearing loss. So if you have difficulty hearing children’s voices, you are not alone! There are many ways to communicate with the children in your life so that conversations and spending time together can be effortless.
Depending on the child’s age, the extent to which you practice each technique will vary. For young children under five, teaching them the methods best-suited for communicating with hearing loss requires setting examples. Eventually, they will learn how and when to effectively talk to you. Grandparents can also connect with young grandchildren by spending time together through activities that do not require a lot of talking, such as playing a board game or coloring pictures. The older the child, the more you can explain hearing loss and communication techniques in detail. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your time together:
Explain hearing loss
Teaching your child/grandchildren about hearing loss is one of the most important aspects of communication. The better they understand what you are experiencing, the more likely they are to act in a way that helps the conversation, according to AARP. For example, if they know that articulated words are easier for you to hear, they may be less likely to mumble or slur their words together.
Make eye contact
Making eye contact helps facilitate speech understanding, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Gently remind your grandchildren to face you when they are speaking to you, telling them that will help you to hear them more clearly. With practice and patience, they will get in the habit of communicating with you closer to face-to-face instead of trying from across the room.
Spend time in quiet places
When you spend time with together, try to choose a quiet environment with limited background noises such as TVs or radios. If you go out for a family dinner, for example, take steps to avoid the noisier parts of the restaurant, such as near the kitchen or next to a waiting area. Going to a library story time together or walking in the garden offers quieter settings, making it easier to hear.
Use assistive technology
Consider using assistive technology that helps boost your ability to hear and connect with one another. Children’s voices can be difficult to hear over the phone, but CapTel captioned telephones let you read captions of everything they say so you catch every word. Wireless sound signalers can flash a light alerting you to sounds that may be too quiet for you to hear, such as a baby’s cry when waking up or the oven timer going off.
Sharing a special hand-written note (or drawing) can be a delightful, playful way of connecting with a child, especially when you get notes or a drawing back in return. Notes and drawings give children a way communicate with you without saying a word.
What are your favorite activities to participate in with your grandchildren? Do you have any special traditions? How do you handle hearing loss during those events?