This has been a tough year. Our lives have been disrupted at the least and dramatically changed at the worst by COVID-19. The effects are far-reaching and life-changing for us all — especially for our kūpuna.

For those with hearing problems, it’s even more difficult to understand conversation when the speaker is wearing a mask. Voices become muffled and visual speech clues are hidden. Social distancing requires a separation of at least six feet, which makes it harder to communicate. The following are some tips for the kūpuna with hearing loss and their family and friends.

Tips for kūpuna with hearing loss:

• Let the speaker know you have problems hearing.
• Ask the speaker to talk slower and louder so you are more likely to understand him or her.

Tips for family and friends:

• Make sure you have the person’s attention before you begin to speak.
• Never speak from another room or over a long distance.
• Ask a simple question to determine if you are being heard and understood. “Tūtū, can you understand me now?”
• Do not start speaking and then turn away. Always face the person you are talking to.

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