Chris Morelli, who writes for Gantdaily.com, suggested that Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, needs a hearing aid based on an interview Paterno provided to a Florida radio station. Hmmm, how do you tell a living legend that he needs some ear gear? How do you tell your spouse, brother, sister, parents, friends, or other loved ones? How do you tell anyone they’ve lost some hearing?
Telling a friend or loved one they need a little help in the hearing department isn’t easy, but here are some tips to make a tough job simpler.
1. Be gentle.
It’s annoying to have to repeat what you say because the listener can’t hear you. Keep your feelings to yourself. Be gentle when you bring up the subject. Don’t let your frustration turn a helpful discussion into a brouhaha. Be kind. Be gentle. Be patient.
2. Do some research.
Help your friend or spouse who’s lost some hearing by doing a little research on hearing aids, their features and cost. Provide information, not criticism.
3. Volunteer to go with your loved one during the hearing test.
It’s always helpful to go along with your loved one. Go through the process with him or her. Take notes when the audiologist or ear doctor offers solutions. Be a second “set of ears” during the hearing test, hearing aid fitting, the adjustment period and beyond.
4. Promise to help with hearing aid maintenance.
Become a partner in a loved one’s hearing loss. Help with battery swaps. Help keep those hearing aids clean of ear wax and debris that accumulates in the ear canal throughout the day.
5. Stop complaining.
The TV is too loud. The car radio blares. Your husband sleeps with his MP3 player on all night long. You won’t change long-established behaviors and you certainly aren’t going to change perceptions of hearing aids.
Don’t complain. Be an advocate for good hearing health – your own and the hearing health of those around you.
6. Explain the problems hearing loss causes others.
People with hearing loss are less productive, less engaged with others, less happy and, in some cases, less fun to be around.
Again, don’t complain, whine, nag or annoy a family member with hearing loss. Just provide the facts. With good information, people will easily see the benefits of quality hearing aids to their lives and the lives of those around them.
7. Help with the cost.
A lot of us are dealing with aging parents who have lost some hearing. And many of those Baby Boomers have done a little research on hearing aids only to discover that these tiny computers for the ears are pricey.
If you can, help defray the cost of quality hearing aids for a parent who was a little too close to the speakers at Woodstock ’69. You can also ask the ear doctor or hearing aid dispenser about financing and even co-sign the note that gets your parents back in the game.
Don’t let cost deter you from helping others. Hearing is a quality of life issue and when it comes to loved ones and close friends…well, you just can’t put a price tag on a better quality of life.
Nittany Lions coach, Joe Paterno, may indeed need a pair of hearing aids according to Gantdaily.com, but who’s going to tell him to his face? The guy’s a legend around Mount Nittany.
However, if you care about someone who could use some hearing help, then take a pro-active approach and help without nagging. Be a partner in the process and an advocate for good hearing health.
It’s never easy, but it IS the right thing to do.