Help your loved one stay connected
It is difficult to watch someone struggle to hear, but talking to them about it can be challenging. Hearing loss usually creeps up so slowly that a person does not even realize it is happening. Even though someone’s hearing loss seems obvious to us, that person may be in denial or reluctant to admit that he is having difficulty hearing the world around him.
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person who has it. It also affects spouses, family members and friends.
Untreated hearing loss can cause a person to lose confidence, withdraw socially, become isolated or even depressed. What appears to be memory loss or dementia may be hearing loss.
The right hearing aids can make an amazing difference in their life. Helping them hear all the sounds of the world around them, the right solution will simply enable them to live their life to the fullest.
There are steps that you can take to encourage your loved one to seek treatment of their hearing loss. Convincing someone to seek help for hearing loss is the right thing to do, but is not always easy. We’ve helped family members and friends, just like you, who want to share the gift of better hearing. We can walk you through what to do and say.
How you can help
Understand that hearing loss is more common than you may think
Hearing loss is often errantly seen as a sign of aging and declining general health. However, this is frequently not the case. Hearing loss can happen to anyone, at any age, or in any health condition.
Choose the right time and place to talk
Choosing the right time and place for a discussion about hearing loss is crucial. When you start the conversation about hearing problems, try to take the attention off of their hearing problems use “I” statements, like: “I am concerned about your hearing; it would make me feel better if you got it checked out.
Although hearing loss can affect the entire family, the ideal first conversation should be one on one. Choose a time when both you and the individual with hearing loss are not busy, tired or too emotional.
Get your loved one to bring up the issue
After deciding when and where you will speak to your loved one about hearing loss, consider how you think he or she will react. Some people may be reluctant to take advice from others, especially if the person giving the advice is one’s own child. A usually independent person may not positively respond to observations about hearing issues. If you believe this is the case, try letting your loved one self-identify the problem.
One method of broaching the subject of hearing loss is by simply mentioning to that you have noticed that this person has recently avoided conversations or speaking on the phone. You can then ask if anything is wrong. Often, your loved one will mention that it has been harder to hear clearly.
Be patient during the conversation
Try not to become frustrated with your loved one, even if he or she denies having hearing loss. Do not criticize your loved one, make threats or give ultimatums. Avoid listing all the times you have noticed problems related to his or her hearing loss. This will quickly end the conversation and both of you will walk away angry.
Know that many people with hearing loss realize their hearing ability has changed, but they are simply scared to admit it. With a patient and caring approach to this difficult conversation topic, most people will eventually acknowledge that they do have concerns about their hearing.
It’s common for someone to deny their hearing loss. It’s helpful to discuss how advances in technology have changed the way hearing aids look and perform.
Let your loved one know you are there for support
Because the idea of experiencing hearing loss can be daunting, it is important for you to give any support your loved one needs. Tell your loved one you are willing to do whatever it takes to help. Many times people assume someone will ask for help; this is not always true.
Show your desire to help by offering to take the individual to have a hearing test. Suggesting the entire family have a hearing test at the same time is also a great option that can make someone feel less anxious.
While talking about hearing loss can be challenging, it is necessary. Remember that you have the best intentions at heart for your loved one and your family.
Some people may be willing to schedule a hearing test right away. But for most people, this will be the start of a dialog. Be patient and continue to raise awareness by gently noting instances when they do not hear something or hearing it correctly to raise awareness of how much it affects your lives.