You say “trash” and your spouse hears “cash.” You say “potato” and your spouse hears “tomato.” Mixing up consonant sounds is a telltale sign of hearing loss, and one that you might have noticed in your loved one.
When you suspect your spouse of having hearing loss, it’s only natural that you will ask them to get their hearing tested. But your gentle request might be brushed off or met with outright refusal.
Why your spouse won’t get their hearing tested
Hearing loss is a complex issue that can affect your spouse’s life profoundly. People react differently to hearing loss. Some may be in denial and simply hope that everyone is mumbling. Many older adults simply do not think that they have a problem.
Others may say that they just hear what they want to hear and can’t be bothered with a hearing test. While others still will react with frustration and project their anger on their loved ones.
Vanity is another common deterrent. Many people believe that a hearing aid will “show their age,” even though new hearing aids are sleeker and less visible today.
It can take years of living with hearing impairment before going to a doctor
The average person will have hearing impairment for approximately seven to 10 years before getting their hearing tested. Often, the person with hearing loss is the last to realize it due to the fact that change begins subtly and continues gradually over many years.
Cost is often a deterrent to seeking treatment as well, considering hearing aids can cost $1,000 for a pair of entry-level devices, and up to $6,000 for a pair featuring the most advanced technology.
In addition, hearing loss is often “normalized” among older adults. Some people simply accept hearing impairment as something to deal with, rather than something they can get help with.
Delayed treatment can make things much worse
Although your spouse might reject the idea of getting their hearing tested, it’s important to understand that delaying treatment can exacerbate the problem and lead to other issues. Not only will the impairment get worse over time, but hearing loss can negatively affect balance, which can increase the risk of falling. In addition, hearing loss is linked to a higher risk of dementia.
Although you do have a lot of obstacles to overcome to get your spouse to get their hearing tested, there are things you can do. In order to help your spouse hear better, reduce risks, and be fully engaged in life, here’s how you can help.
- Stop feeding back information when your spouse can’t understand a conversation. They’ll get exasperated quickly with asking “What?” all the time, missing the punchlines to their favorite TV shows, and missing out on important conversations with loved ones. Soon, they’ll realize that they need to seek treatment.
- Find an audiologist you can trust, one that understands the obstacles that you’re facing.
- Ask your audiologist if payment options are available.
- Show your spouse the new, sleek designs for hearing aids, so they know how barely noticeable they are.
- Explain the risks of hearing loss and how hearing aids can help improve safety, communication, and quality of life.
- Explain that you’re suggesting a hearing test because you care and want your spouse to get the most out of life.
If your spouse is struggling with hearing loss, request an appointment with one of our doctoral-level audiologists here at Associated Audiologists. We can help.