Hearing loss is an incredibly prevalent condition that impacts the lives of millions of seniors worldwide, yet it’s important to recognize that hearing loss is not a one-size-fits-all issue. Within this broad spectrum, individuals may fall into different categories, such as “hard of hearing” or “harsh of hearing.”
Understanding the nuances between these terms is crucial to grasp the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals within each group. So, let’s delve into the definitions of these terms and explore the distinctions that set them apart.
What is “Hard of Hearing”?
“Hard of hearing” refers to individuals who experience varying degrees of hearing loss but retain some auditory capability. While they can perceive certain sounds, they often encounter challenges in understanding speech, particularly in environments with high levels of background noise.
Consequently, they may rely on assistive devices to navigate their daily lives, allowing them to overcome communication barriers and actively engage with their surroundings.
What is “Harsh of Hearing”?
“Harsh of hearing” is a non-medical term used to describe people who have an abrasive or unpleasant way of speaking due to their hearing loss. It is described as a behavior that results from being hard of hearing – it is not a condition itself.
This behavior can stem from:
- Frustration with being unable to understand and communicate smoothly with others, especially in a noisy environment that has an overabundance of stimuli.
- Confusion because individuals with hearing loss may be unaware that their manner of communicating can be perceived negatively by those on the receiving end of the conversation, due to the impact of their hearing loss.
This behavior is challenging for both the individual expressing it and those around them to interact and build connections. This can lead to individuals isolating themselves and lessening their everyday functioning and ability to receive the social stimulation we all need.
What can be done?
The most effective and holistic approach to address the behavior associated with being “harsh of hearing” is to directly tackle the underlying cause, which is hearing loss itself. By making appropriate accommodations for hearing loss, we can bring about a profound transformation in how residents with hearing loss interact and respond to their environment.
Here are several key strategies that help to create a supportive environment:
Speak clearly and face the person
When engaging in conversation with someone who is hard of hearing, it is crucial to articulate your words clearly and maintain direct eye contact. This intentional communication approach enables them to not only hear but also observe your lip movements and facial expressions, providing valuable visual cues that aid in understanding.
Use visual aids
Incorporating visual aids can significantly enhance communication for individuals who have hearing loss. By supplementing verbal information with written notes, diagrams, or pictures, you can effectively convey messages and ensure better comprehension.
Be patient and understanding
Regardless of how a resident with hearing loss may communicate, it is paramount for staff members to consistently demonstrate respect, compassion, and patience. Recognizing their unique needs and actively accommodating them fosters an inclusive environment that promotes their overall well-being and sense of belonging.
Embrace assistive technology
Innovative solutions, such as Eversound’s cutting-edge, compact, and portable design, presents an invaluable solution for senior residents with hearing loss. This advanced wireless headphone technology enables users to receive crystal-clear audio in any setting, empowering them to actively participate in conversations, activities, and events.
Furthermore, utilizing closed captions can take it one step further for simple transcriptions of sound, dialogue, music, and more, so residents can enjoy and follow video programming without those around them without significant hearing loss/
Help residents get hearing aids
And of course, where possible, be sure to help residents get fitted for hearing aids, to ensure that seniors receive the appropriate devices that enhance their hearing capabilities. (Many Medicare Advantage plans cover the cost of hearing aids.)
By combining these strategies and leveraging the benefits of assistive technology like Eversound, you can create an environment that not only addresses the behavioral challenges associated with being “harsh of hearing” but also enhance overall communication, social engagement, and quality of life for residents.
Managing “harsh of hearing” through comprehensive care
Being “harsh of hearing” is a symptom of a larger issue that can be effectively managed through a comprehensive approach that embraces innovative solutions like Eversound.
By harnessing the power of Eversound, you can bridge the gap caused by hearing loss and provide individuals with an immersive auditory experience and ensure that residents receive the accommodations and compassionate care they deserve – empowering them to thrive and actively participate in the world around them.
By making simple adjustments, utilizing assistive technology, and promoting a clear distinction between “hard of hearing” and “harsh of hearing,” you can cultivate a more inclusive setting.