Lately, you’ve noticed someone you care about doesn’t seem to be hearing well. The television volume gets turned up to a level you find painful. Calling their name no longer gets their attention. You’re constantly being asked to repeat what you’ve said. Since these are common signs of hearing loss, I’m glad you’re looking for ways to help your loved one with hearing loss.
In our hearing care clinic, we’ve assisted many people who are looking for ways to help someone with hearing loss. We wanted people who are not part of our practice to have the benefit of the advice we give our patients and their families.
Knowing the typical emotional state of someone new to hearing loss can help you be empathetic during this challenging time. When people begin to lose their hearing, emotional issues usually emerge as well. Sometimes, people become afraid of what hearing loss could mean for their future. Feelings of anger and frustration are common. Some people with hearing loss even become depressed.
Adjust the Way You Communicate
Miscommunication and the resulting hurt feelings frequently damage the personal relationships of people with hearing loss. You can reduce instances of misunderstanding by changing how you communicate.
When possible, reduce background noise by turning off the television, radio, or noisy appliances. To get the attention of someone with hearing loss, you may need to gesture with your hands or offer a gentle tap on the shoulder.
Speaking face-to-face in a well-lit area makes it easier to understand what you’re saying. Seeing your facial expressions and gestures helps the listener put your words in the right context. When you are asked to repeat something, rephrase what you’ve said rather than using the same words in a louder voice.
Soon, the two of you need to have a conversation about hearing loss. Before you have “the talk”, it’s helpful to research facts about hearing loss. Hopefully, you know your loved one well enough to get the information you need to address their fears and misconceptions about hearing loss and its treatment.
Are you trying to help someone who typically fears medical procedures because they may be painful or invasive? By doing your research, you can share there’s nothing to worry about. A hearing test is not invasive or painful. Perhaps there’s a concern that wearing a clunky hearing aid will damage their image in the workplace or in the community. You can say you’ve found out most modern hearing aids are so discreet that they’re barely noticeable or even invisible.
At Audicles, we’re committed to providing our patients and the community with trustworthy information related to hearing health. You can find answers to common questions about hearing loss on the patient resources page on our website.
Confront the Issue Instead of the Person
It’s a good idea to think carefully about when and how to have a direct conversation about hearing loss. It’s important to choose a time when both of you are in a good mood and not likely to be distracted. As you express your concern for your loved one’s well-being, an understanding and compassionate tone is necessary.
You may want to start with your recent observations. For example, you might say you have noticed understanding phone conversations has become difficult. Perhaps you could bring up their recent complaints that people seem to be mumbling. You might ask how they feel about these changes.
Based on your research, you can talk about how important it is to treat hearing loss. Treating hearing loss improves a person’s quality of life. The benefits of treating hearing loss include:
- Improved professional and personal relationships
- Fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits
- More self-confidence
- Increased social interaction
Unfortunately, we also know untreated hearing loss is strongly associated with undesirable outcomes like social isolation, dementia, and falls.
Suggest a Hearing Assessment
After you’ve made your case there’s a problem that needs to be addressed, scheduling a hearing test is the first step toward getting a solution. If there are objections to a hearing examination, offering additional support may overcome them. Can you or a friend accompany your loved one to the hearing clinic? Since establishing a baseline for your hearing can benefit anyone, you could schedule a hearing test for yourself and other willing relatives or friends. The purpose is to prevent the person with hearing loss from feeling singled out.
We’re Here to Help
We have been serving the hearing health needs of the San Antonio community since 1944. When your loved one comes to our hearing clinic, one of our experienced audiologists will perform a comprehensive hearing assessment. Then we will develop a treatment plan based on what we’ve learned about our new patient’s unique hearing needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment.