Treatment for Adults
Help a Loved One with Onset Speech Disorders or Hearing Loss
An interview with Mike Howland, President & CEO
Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss or a speech disorder, we’d like you to know that there is help for you. It might seem daunting to think about finding help, but finding speech therapy for adults doesn’t need to be a difficult task. The following article will help to get you started getting the help you need.
What can cause onset speech impairment in adults?
Later on in life, there are many factors that could cause a speech impairment.
The onset of speech, swallowing, and/or language disorders in adults can be brought on by a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or a disease that affects motor skills (i.e. ALS, Parkinson’s Disease).
Speech can also be affected by cognition disorders (i.e. Alzheimer’s Disease) or hearing loss. Also, anatomical or structural deviation of the oral cavity can cause speech impairment. This deviation can be caused by vocal nodules, polyps, cysts or oral cancer.
Speech therapy for adults can be effective in treating onset speech impairment from all of these causes.
How can family members best help a loved one that has a speech impairment?
It can be very difficult to accept that there is in fact a disorder, but once you do, the first thing on your mind is probably, “How can I help to make this better?” Speech therapy for adults can be the answer to this question.
More than just a therapist, speech-language pathologist can be a partner who guides the patient and their family to identify specific treatment goals. They can work on these goals together in order to foster communication and understanding.
Your therapist will be able to devise a treatment program suited especially for the patient’s needs.
However, there are many things you can do at home that can help your loved one deal with their disorder as best they can and to make them as comfortable as possible.
Onset adult hearing loss can lead to social anxiety and frustration. If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, please call the professionals at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test.
When interacting with an adult with a speech or language disorder, try to…
- Maintain a natural conversational manner appropriate for an adult.
- Minimize distractions, such as a blaring radio, whenever possible.
- Include the person with a speech or language disorder in conversations.
- Continue to ask for and value the opinion of the person, especially regarding family matters.
- Encourage any type of communication, whether it is speech, gesture, pointing, or drawing.
- Avoid correcting the individual’s speech.
- Allow the individual plenty of time to talk.
- Help the individual become involved outside the home. Seek out support groups.
How can hearing loss impact an adult person’s quality of life?
Having hearing loss or a speech disorder can significantly impact a person’s ability to communicate with others, and lead to a reduced quality of life. The most common ways hearing loss can manifest in a person’s life is through:
- increased anxiety
- social isolation and withdrawal
- panic disorders
- social phobias,
- difficulty concentrating, especially when communicating with others
How can I tell if my parent has hearing loss?
Hearing loss is rarely sudden.
Rather, it’s usually quite gradual—in fact it is sometimes so gradual that a person’s family and friends may notice the problem before they do. This change can lead to some awkward and confusing situations for the person losing their hearing as well as their family.
Here are ten questions that can help you determine whether a friend or family member is suffering from hearing loss. If they answer “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may want to schedule a professional hearing evaluation with an audiologist.
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you have trouble following conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
How can family members help a loved one who has hearing loss?
Talking to someone about hearing loss can be difficult, especially if they haven’t yet fully accepted their hearing loss. No one wants to embarrass their loved one or put them on the spot.
But if you think they may be losing their hearing, it is important to get them to a professional for a hearing test. Here are some tips to help you.
Set Your Stage.
- Get their attention first.
- Face the person directly.
- Avoid noisy backgrounds.
Get the Point Across.
- Don’t shout.
- Speak clearly and at a moderate pace, not over-emphasizing words.
- Calmly re-phrase if you are not understood. Don’t rush.
- Use facial expressions and gestures.
In closing, the most important thing a family member can do to help a loved one with onset hearing loss or a speech disorder is to get a hearing test.
If you have further questions about speech therapy for adults, our audiologists, speech pathologists, services, events, or volunteer opportunities, please reach out to us online or call (904) 355-3403.
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This article has been updated from a previously published version.