Yes, you love your grandchildren, their cuteness, cheeky smiles and the way they look like your own kids so many years back, but sometimes these adorable grandchildren can be very hard to bear too. Kids usually have a tendency to slur their words and swallow them up and their momentary shrieks of pleasure and screams of terror can be tough on older people. Moreover, their way of speaking can also make it harder to understand what kids are telling but the loss of hearing that comes with age makes it all the more harder.
That being said, loss of hearing is not a reason to miss out on the important relationships you desire with your grandkids. However, you need to sometimes teach them the best way to speak to you and while this would obviously take a lot of patience and repetition, it will be worth it.
Below are some tips for better conversations with your grandchildren and if you share these with them in an age-appropriate way, they will soon understand what you need to tell them.
- Talk to them about your hearing loss and this first step is the most important one. You need to let them know that it is hard for your to hear them and you could even show them your hearing aids and explain that your ears aren’t as strong as theirs.
- Ask them to first get your attention and explain that it’s a lot easier for you to hear them if they have your attention. This way, you can both, concentrate better on what they are saying and also understand what they need to say.
- Be certain that the kids are facing you when they are talking. Let them know that it is easier for you to see the movement of their lips as it helps you to hear. Plus, playing lipreading games can be a lot of fun with kids!
- Always keep the lights bright and the background noise low. When you want to talk to them, ask them to turn down the music. Places that are well lit allows you to lipread better.
- It’s natural for kids to want to talk ahead of the others but it’s very important to teach them to take turns when talking. With your sense of hearing not as good as it once was, having to listen to more than one speaker at a time can be very difficult so remind them to take turns when speaking.
- Tell your grandchildren to speak at a normal pace and volume and then, it will be easy for you to lipread them as opposed to shouting and speaking extremely slowly which makes it harder for you to understand. What matters most is the clarity of the sound so ask them to speak clearly without slurring the words together. If they can’t seem to do this properly, ask them to pretend that they are speaking in front of an audience onstage to make them understand what you mean.
- If you miss any part of the conversation, ask for clarification instead of saying ‘What?’. Repeat the part of the sentence that you heard and ask them to tell what you missed and for more fun, you can even say them what you think you heard!
- Get down to their level by sitting on the floor with them or asking them to climb up on your lap. Put in the effort to interact with them by playing because the more engaged you are in their activities, the more willing they are to put in that extra effort to communicate with you.
- Effective communication with kids takes some work, particularly when you are experiencing hearing loss. This is why it’s important to maintain a good energy level and be well rested before a visit. Exercise regularly, eat health food and get enough of rest.
- Maintain a good sense of humour. Dealing with your grandchildren can sometime be frustrating but remember how you want to connect with them. So, rather than being upset by the misunderstandings, laugh it all out! Since kids are learning new words, they are bound to make a lot of mistakes too so they won’t judge you for your errors. Be at ease with your loss of hearing and they will be too.
Losing your sense of hearing is a scary prospect and it can make communication extremely difficult but following the above tips can help you to maintain a good attitude. Every moment with your grandchildren is precious, so don’t let them go to waste.