Wednesday, November 2, 2016

TA: "Our brains have more trouble processing speech as we age, but there are ways to fight it."

Do you work with older residents?   Did you know, as Charlie Sorrel writes,
Normally a human can focus on a single speaker in a busy environment, picking out their speech even over the nattering of the surrounding crowd, but as we age, we get worse at distinguishing signal from noise.

Have a greater positive impact on older residents first by reading The Reason Why Old People Have Bad Hearing Has Nothing To Do With Their Ears and second by doing something.

What can you do?   You can structurally minimize noise in waiting rooms; give people pagers similar to those used in restaurants rather than, or in addition to, calling names; and place white noise machines in intake cubicles.   You could also look at people when you speak to them.   Recall this from Sorrell,

If you can see the speaker's lips, that helps to better understand their speech. If you are talking to an older person, then, you should make sure they can see you and are paying attention to you, before speaking.

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