Well, it’s not just about yelling. It’s about communicating. When communication is not easy, and is possibly frustrating, yelling can be involved and it begins with Y. I am an opportunist when I have to be. Most of these problems have to do with diminished hearing, poor eyesight, and diminished attention.
Is there a lot of missed communication going on at my house? Sometimes it feels that way. Here are some common scenarios…
The husband thinks I’m listening to him (he may have seen me close by) and starts talking to me while looking elsewhere. He doesn’t know I’ve left and am two rooms away. When I realize he’s talking away to an empty room, I come back, frustrated and have to ask him to repeat.
In the morning when he comes out for his cup of cocoa and sits in the corner recliner. He doesn’t usually have his hearing aids in yet. I ask him what he wants for breakfast but he doesn’t hear. I raise my voice until he tells me I don’t have to yell. We both feel embarrassed.
In the morning he comes out for his cup of cocoa and he DOES have his hearing aids in. I ask him loudly what he wants for breakfast and he jumps and puts his hands over his ears.
“What?! You didn’t tell me that!” This is often said about something that was being discussed in conversation with a group of family or friends. I can understand that it’s hard to admit (or even know) that you’re not hearing what you can’t hear. It’s easier to fake it and assume that someone will get your attention if it’s important. But, dear hard of hearing person, no one knows you haven’t heard…
If you’re caring for an elder, it’s safe to assume that most everyone who is up there in age has some degree of hearing loss. Okay, I don’t have young ears either.
Hearing in noisy environments or over a phone are other risks to good communication. My uncle, who hears fairly well in face to face conversation, gets a little nervous with phone conversations. He sometimes asks me to join him on calls with his financial advisor, not because I’m a financial genius either. He wants to make sure he is hearing things correctly. And who hasn’t faked it in a noisy restaurant? Nod and smile, that would be me.
To make matters more complicated, people who are hard of hearing often hear their own voice through bone conduction. It sounds very loud, so they talk softly and can barely be heard. The husband does this with the result that he can’t hear me and I can’t hear him either. Somehow, even when I’m not angry, having to yell makes me feel like I’m being mean. I don’t like yelling.
We are getting better at communicating. Here are some things we’ve done to lessen the volume and make sure important things are heard.
1. I try to get the TV volume or other noise, turned down before I speak.
2. I look at the person I’m talking to so I know if they are listening, and if they know I’m talking to them. I try to get my husband to do this as well.
3. I communicate plans for the day, important news, etc… directly when there are no competing voices. I try not to assume something has been picked up from conversations with others.
4. Whenever I see confusion, I ask questions to see if there is a misunderstanding.
5. I often leave a written note.
So, back to yelling. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make for good communication and most of the time, even if I’m not mad or frustrated, it makes me feel like I’m being mean and ineffective as a caregiver. When I’m well rested, in my right mind and remembering my above mentioned tips, the communication is much improved. Just sayin’…