Hearing loss can be a tricky one to talk about for many different reasons. Some people think hearing loss is a condition that makes them feel “old,” while others don’t want to accept a “weakness.” It’s important to remember that hearing loss is a medical condition that affects 20 percent of Americans, no matter what their age. Indeed, a third of people over the age of 65 undergo some degree of hearing loss as a normal part of aging; this is not something to be pushed aside.
Hearing loss is an invisible condition that, if left untreated, can expand to many different areas of one’s life. People are waiting an average of seven years from the moment they first notice changes in their hearing skills to the time they decide to seek treatment. People can develop stress, depression, and anxiety during this time; increase their risk for dementia, and become socially isolated due to communication difficulties.
If you believe that your loved one may experience hearing loss, you may decide that it is time to talk about seeking treatment. But you’ll have to tread lightly. Getting someone to acknowledge hearing loss can be a sensitive topic. Here are some tips on how to best approach the issue with your loved one.
Prepare the right information.
A plethora of information about hearing loss is available online. Academics have published a lot of research over the past few decades about how untreated hearing loss spreads into all areas of one’s life: employment, mental health, physical health, and interpersonal relationships, of course. If you have a loved one listening, you should have ready and available information. Hearing loss figures, numbers for local audiologists, and information about how they can improve their lives are all items that can be of assistance to them once they make a decision.
Pick your time and place wisely.
You should handle this issue with care, right down to the smallest detail. Pick the correct time to discuss your concerns. Choose a quiet and peaceful location and time to talk, rather than a busy mealtime or while in transit. It would help if you aided the conditions for conversation, especially with someone who may be dealing with severe limitations to speech understanding. Start by asking questions. Instead of making statements which they might see as allegations, ask how your loved one has been doing and whether they have had any trouble hearing lately. It’s quite likely they waited for the chance to think about it.
Talk about your personal experience.
Only share what you have done with your loved one. Find out the occasions in which you were involved. You have a stronger case to make to them when you’re ready. Express with them the struggles and fears that their hearing problems sometimes cause you. Being transparent with them and telling them about your issues will help them see where the problem lies.
Listen to what they have to say
More likely than not, if you have noticed patterns of hearing loss, your loved one who is going through the hearing loss may have seen those changes to their hearing ability already. That is why listening is vital, as important as sharing your concerns and views on the issue. Ask your loved one open-ended questions once you have shared your worries, and give them the space to discuss their point of view. They may share something you may not even have thought about, or even how it mentally and emotionally impacts them to endure a compromised hearing. Listening is essential because it gives the person hearing loss to express his or her concerns and needs, and can provide a path toward treatment.
Let them know you are there.
Loss of hearing can be an isolating experience. Your loved one will appreciate your concern for their well-being. Resist being self-righteous when supporting your loved one. That can make your loved one defensive and prevent them from seeking treatment.
Though it is common to experience hearing impairment, symptoms may vary from person to person. It is essential to seek medical advice to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. We can help create a unique treatment plan for your loved one and put them on the road towards better hearing.