How to talk to loved ones about hearing loss
Hearing problems can make it challenging to live your daily life. It may be hard to have conversations with friends, family and coworkers, and can even cause embarrassment and frustration. For some, hearing loss can even be dangerous if it becomes difficult to hear alarms or other warning signals. While it may seem obvious to seek medical attention for hearing loss, many people wait years before getting hearing aids. Here are a few ways to take charge if a loved one is suffering from hearing loss:
The first time you have a conversation with a loved one about hearing loss, chances are they will not immediately respond by seeing a hearing practitioner. They may be experiencing denial or believe that their issue does not require attention.
Begin by creating awareness about the ailment and having conversations about symptoms and solutions, they can become more comfortable with what is going on and what needs to happen.
Ask them about what instances cause them the most trouble: Talking on the telephone, watching television, how their hearing fairs when there is background noise. Allowing them to realize on their own that hearing loss is affecting various aspects of their life can be very motivating.
Don't chastise them
Use the word 'I.' If you are referring to 'their' problem, it can come off as distressing and it increases the chance that someone will shut down and refuse help. Have a conversation with your loved one about how the issue is affecting you and other family members, but do this in a way that won't cause them to become defensive. For example, show your concern about them enjoying a child or grandchild's company before they get too old.
Many people have negative feelings toward hearing aids, but you can create awareness and bring positivity to the situation. For example, you can tell a story about a close friend, relative or coworker who has had a great experience with hearing aids. Better yet, ask that individual to have a conversation with your loved one that is suffering.
Being able to hear well has been shown to decrease dementia and brain atrophy and relieve symptoms of depression and isolation. Talk to your loved ones about the things they will gain with help from a hearing device.
Encourage them to be proactive
During your conversation with a loved one about hearing loss, talk about all the things he or she can enjoy to the fullest with the help of hearing aids. Discuss hearing nutrition, new technologies and community-oriented engagement with your loved one as well. The more they learn about hearing aids, the more comfortable they may be with seeing a hearing aid professional.
Have them take the pledge
May is Better Hearing Month, so there is no better time than now to learn more about hearing loss and head to the audiologist. Ask your loved one to take the pledge on our site this month, and we will donate $1 to research for each person that takes this challenge. Why not join your loved one for a hearing exam?