When my grandmother got hearing aids at age 75, I suddenly realized she was a very intelligent woman. She started making timely, incisive comments in the middle of fast conversations. She started paying attention to things more. And she became funnier.
She apparently had had hearing loss for many years. Out of pride, perhaps, or maybe out of inertia, she never did anything about it. But obviously it benefitted her to get the hearing aids.
People with hearing loss become separated from friends & family, which is a serious problem on its own, as we are social beings and need other people to be happy. But hearing loss also can lead to depression and anxiety, and may partly cause falls and dementia. In fact, one of the things I recommend to my patients who have fallen is that they get their hearing checked. I don't know why, but hearing aids help in this situation.
One first step is for the patient to admit they have a problem and not "fake it." It's tempting to avoid constantly saying "What?" or "I'm sorry?" In my office, I see intelligent people who are motivated about their health pretend to hear something I've said in order to conceal that they can't hear. That's dangerous. In what other situations is this occurring? It's got to lead to others thinking that they are less intelligent.
This guy's making a good effort.
According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, strategies to help the hearing impaired are:
1. Speak face-to-face, to make the sounds clearer and to give the listener clues from facial expressions and lip movements.
2. Reduce background noise, because the ability to discriminate important sounds declines as we get older.
3. Speak more slowly, instead of more loudly. If you shout, it distorts the speech. Also shouting causes stress.
4. Orient the listener to the topic. Creating context like this helps the listener fill in the gaps.
5. Phrase the statement in a different way if the listener doesn't understand it correctly the first time.
And then there's the issue of technologies. Hearing aids have improved dramatically in the past few decades. There are also other devices that help with phones and televisions.
Finally, to prevent hearing loss, we should avoid exposure to loud noises for extended periods of time, and use hearing protection when it's necessary.