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Tips for Communicating With the Hearing Impaired

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Updated March 04, 2008

Although most communication changes with your loved one are due to the way Alzheimer's affects the brain, hearing problems might make communication even more difficult. Here are some tips for communicating with your loved one if he or she has a hearing problem as well as Alzheimer's disease:

  • Always approach your relative from the front, and stay standing or sitting in front of him throughout your conversation.

  • If your loved one doesn't see you approach, say his name and lightly touch his arm to alert him of your presence.

  • Don't shout -- instead, speak slowly, distinctly, and in a low tone of voice.

  • Try communicating non-verbally (for example, try pointing) or writing down your message.

  • Make sure that your relative is wearing a working hearing aid, if prescribed.

Sources:

Communication: Best ways to interact with the person with dementia. Alzheimer's Association. 2005. http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_communication.pdf

Mace, N. L., & Rabins, P. V. (2006). The 36-hour day: A family guide to caring for people with Alzheimer disease, other dementias, and memory loss in later life (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

  1. About.com
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  5. Communication
  6. Hearing Problems - Alzheimer's Disease and Changes in Hearing Abilities

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