Loss of hearing creates unique lifestyle challenges for those afflicted. Here are some ways to help.
Step 1: Learn American Sign Language Learn American Sign Language if the individual is deaf.
Step 2: Communicate face-to-face Communicate face-to-face, not across the room.
Step 3: Listen to audio tapes Listen to audio tapes of simulated hearing loss.
Step 4: Read articles Read articles about hearing loss and ways to communicate around it.
Step 5: Offer assistance Offer assistance with potentially frustrating tasks. Many insurance companies will not pay reasonable fees for a hearing aid, for example.
TIP: Recognize that a hard-of-hearing person may experience frustration, anger, outrage, sadness or even despair when confronted by obstacles not dealt with by those with normal hearing.
Step 6: Install a flashing light system Install a flashing light system in the individual's home that activates whenever the doorbell or telephone rings. Make sure it is also linked to the smoke detectors.
Step 7: Use appropriate telephone and TV Make sure the individual has access to an amplified telephone and television with caption capability.
Step 8: Encourage the individual to be assertive Encourage the individual to be assertive about his or her needs.
FACT: Similarities exist between the hand signs used by Native Americans on the Great Plains and those used in American Sign Language.