Patience and support are paramount when addressing the hearing loss of a loved one. Perhaps you’ve noticed signs of hearing loss in a loved one or friend, such as when both of you have to shout at one another to clearly be heard, or when the volume on the TV always seems higher than it was before. You may also have noticed your loved one withdrawing from conversations, or becoming irritable when interacting with others.
This can be frustrating, no doubt — but consider what your loved ones must be going through. They may be facing the stressful prospect of possible hearing loss, and feel alone in their struggle. They may even be in denial, unable to face the realization of their hearing loss, and afraid of what their conditions can reveal about their health, age, and intellect.
Before you attempt to address hearing loss directly, focus on offering your loved one your wholehearted support. You may not understand exactly what he or she is feeling, but empathy is your greatest ally in this circumstance.
When talking with your loved one about hearing loss, make sure you’re doing it in a quiet place and in person — that way, there’s no interference or outside noises that can distract you and your loved one.
It’s best, too, to come to this conversation prepared with information. Do some research (this blog is a great starting point) and learn facts about how common hearing loss is. Hearing impairment affects one in three adults over the age of 65. Learning facts such as these can help ease your loved one’s mind, and make him or her more receptive to what you’re saying.
Be willing to attend a hearing evaluation with your loved one. This helps deliver proof of hearing loss, which can help your loved one directly address the situation.
Finally, let your loved one know about recent advancements in technology for hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are smaller, more comfortable, and may be compatible with your loved one’s mobile devices and computers. Just as cell phones have gotten sleeker and smarter over the years, so has hearing aid technology.
Once your loved one has committed to being fitted for a hearing aid, their quality of life will be greatly improved. No more TVs and radios playing at uncomfortable volumes, no more shouting matches in place of everyday conversations. Your loved one can return to enjoying life as he or she remembered it.
Your role throughout this process should remain one of empathy and patience. Remember that this is uncharted territory for you just as much as it is for your loved one. If your loved one doesn’t want to immediately schedule a hearing test, don’t be discouraged. It may take some convincing, but the more support you can provide, the more willing he or she will be to take the steps needed to address hearing loss.
Are you or your loved one being affected by hearing loss and impairment? Contact Associated Audiologists today to find out how our doctoral-level audiologists can help you hear and keep you tuned in to life.