How to Communicate With an Elderly Person Who is Hard of Hearing

Are your conversations with Grandma or Grandpa getting more difficult? Has hearing loss placed a damper on your time together?

Don’t worry—there are several effective ways to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing. We’ll take a look at a few of them as well as the most common causes of hearing issues. In addition, we’ll show you how we strive to always communicate effectively with our residents at Cedar Cove. 

How Do You Communicate with an Elderly Person Who is Hard of Hearing?

It can be challenging to communicate with the hard of hearing, so we’ve outlined these five useful tips: 

  • Communicate Expectations

First, it’s important to understand that no one method works for everybody. Take time to communicate with your loved one and determine what approach works best. Do they rely on visual cues? Perhaps it helps for them to “read lips” or get a list of conversation topics beforehand. 

The bottom line is if you don’t ask, you won’t understand the most effective method of how to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing. 

  • Turn Down the Noise

Is the TV on? Perhaps a favorite playlist is on in the background. All of these noises can impact your loved one’s ability to hear you. Therefore, try to eliminate as much noise as possible. Turn off the TV, make sure you’re in a quiet environment, and be patient if you have to repeat yourself. 

If you’re out at a restaurant or shopping, it helps to speak in areas where there isn’t as much background noise. 

  • Use Visual Cues

Did you know that some research indicates that as much as 55 percent of communication is determined by body language? Another 38 percent is based upon the tone of voice. Only around seven percent centers around the actual words spoken. 

While those statistics don’t apply to every situation, they do illustrate an important point—use visual cues to get your point across when discovering how to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing. 

This may mean talking with your hands and gesturing when determining how to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing.

  • Make Sure to Face the Person When Speaking

Speaking of nonverbal communication, your facial expressions can also carry a lot of weight.

It’s a vital component of how to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing. 

Facing the person also enables them to “read lips,” and helps them frame the context of your words.

  • Prepare a List of Topics Beforehand

If you need to have an in-depth conversation with someone who has difficulty hearing, it often helps to outline the topics beforehand. This way, the person you’re speaking with has an idea of what to expect and what vocabulary would normally accompany this subject. 

What Causes Hearing Loss?

There is no one thing that causes hearing loss, but most often, hearing loss is a result of the aging process. 

We’ll outline some of the most common causes of hearing loss:

Trauma to the Ear

Accidents or injury can cause either temporary or permanent hearing damage depending upon the part of the ear affected.  The most common types of ear injuries are:

  • Avulsion, where part of the ear is torn off. 
  • Deep scratches
  • Cauliflower ear, an injury where there’s been damage to the exterior ear—frequently as the result from high contact sports such as wrestling or rugby. 
  • Fractures of bones in the middle ear
  • Injuries caused by foreign objects in the ear
  • Perforated eardrums


Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have experienced some type of hearing loss?  

Aging can “wear out” the tiny hair follicles in your inner ear that help transmit sound waves. Once destroyed they cannot regrow. 

Ear Infections

While an ear infection may temporarily affect your hearing, chronic ear infections over the course of a lifetime can cause damage and impact the ability to process sounds.

What Is Conductive Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear due to problems with the outer or middle ear. This can be something as simple as impacted earwax or a bone abnormality. In certain cases, this type of hearing loss can be reversed, particularly if surgery can fix a structural problem with the ear. 

Conductive hearing loss is common in those who have chronic and recurring ear infections. 

What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

This occurs when the nerve within the inner ear is damaged, usually when the tiny hair cells are destroyed or injured. 

This is the most common type of hearing loss and is most often caused by aging. 

Cedar Cove Assists Residents Who Have Hearing Loss

Hearing loss often accompanies aging, and many people do not know how to communicate with an elderly person who is hard of hearing. 

We have a keen understanding of how to effectively communicate with those who have experienced hearing loss. This is because Cedar Cove is much more than a facility—we are a community. We offer everything you’re looking for in quality assisted living. 

Our residents have access to a variety of activities and we even have a memory care unit that provides a safe, yet stimulating environment for those you love.

In addition, we’re family owned and operated. That means you won’t be dealing with some faceless corporation or franchise chain: You’ll be interacting with those who have a vested interest in your community. 

Want to know more or join us? Hurry, our spaces fill quickly! Contact us today to schedule a tour.