One of the greatest things about getting older is the joy of spending time with your grandchildren. Grandparents and grandkids have a lot to learn from each other and these valuable relationships should be cherished and nurtured.
Key to developing these special bonds with your grandchildren is communication. Unfortunately, hearing loss can make communicating very difficult. So for the 60% of Australian seniors who live with hearing loss, spending time with grandkids can be frustrating and saddening. The high frequency voices of children make it especially hard for those with age-related hearing loss to hear them.
Things do not need to be so hard, though! According to recent research, not being able to hear grandchildren is the most common motivation for seniors to seek treatment for their hearing loss. And happily, being fitted with hearing aids almost always results in closer bonds with grandchildren.
In addition to talking to a Connect Hearing clinician about hearing aid options, there are a few simple ways to improve communication with your grandkids. Here are our tips:
- Spend one-on-one time with your grandchild in a quiet environment. Turn the TV off and remove any noisy toys from the room. Communication is often easier when there is minimal background noise.
- Teach them about hearing loss. Explain to your grandchildren that you have a hearing loss and that they need to speak to you clearly and slowly. If you hear better in one ear than the other, explain to them that it’s best if they stand on the side of your ‘hearing’ ear.
- Make eye contact before starting a conversation. If you have something to say to your grandchild, maintain eye contact so they know they should be listening and speaking to your face.
- Only respond to your grandchild’s question or comment if he or she is facing you directly. This will eventually teach them of the importance of eye contact when communicating with you.
- If you didn’t understand something your grandchild said, resist the urge to pretend you did. This can be hard sometimes, but it is important. Instead of pretending you heard them, simply say, “My ears didn’t hear you that time! Tell me again?”
- Don’t give up! Maintaining close relationships with your grandkids is too important for you to just throw in the towel. Consider hearing aids and try your best to stay optimistic even when it’s tough.
Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments below.