| Wed, Sep 09, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Hearing Impaired? Communicate Smarter, Not Harder

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

hearing lossAnyone who has trouble hearing or who has a loved one with hearing problems knows how difficult it can be to have a simple conversation.

What often happens is the person who is hearing impaired asks “What?” and the other person repeats the conversation over and over again. Then, at least one person gets frustrated and walks away from the entire conversation.

If this has happened to you, one of the first steps to help lessen frustration and communicate effectively is to get everyone in the family to admit a hearing problem exists. Once this happens, everyone needs to agree to use patience and to change the way they communicate with each other.

The National Institutes on Aging (NIH) offers a few communication tips that may help make communicating easier.1

If You Have a Hearing Problem

  • Let people know you have a hearing problem.
  • Ask people to face you and to speak more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.
  • Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.
  • Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she said.
  • Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.

If Your Loved One Has a Hearing Problem

  • In a group, include people with hearing loss in the conversation.
  • Find a quiet place to talk to help reduce background noise, especially in restaurants and at social gatherings.
  • Stand in good lighting and use facial expressions or gestures to give clues.
  • Face the person and speak clearly.
  • Speak a little more loudly than normal, but don’t shout.
  • Speak at a reasonable speed.
  • Do not hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while speaking.
  • Repeat yourself if necessary, using different words.
  • Try to make sure only one person talks at a time.
  • Be patient. Stay positive and relaxed.
  • Ask how you can help.

If you think you have a hearing problem, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Original Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, but many Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare supplement insurance plans do. Contact your health care provider or your plan’s customer service representative for more information on hearing exams or other hearing-related questions.

Learn more about Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare supplement insurance by watching videos from our video library.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


Health & Aging, Hearing Loss, NIH National Institute on Aging

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

Medicare & You: Get the official U.S. government Medicare handbook.


1 Health & Aging, Hearing Loss, NIH National Institute on Aging, March 2, 2015


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