How To Tell Someone They Need a Hearing Aid
Most people know someone--- a relative, older friend, a loved one---- who has hearing issues. You find yourself speaking loud to have them understand you. The problem grows worse and worse. Since it’s often not a sudden event but a slow loss over time, loss of hearing is an issue that creeps up and often takes an outside observer to remedy. Hearing aids to some people are a ‘sign of weakness’ or a ‘sign of old age.’ This is patently ridiculous.
People typically begin experiencing hearing loss 7-10 years before they decide to check the problem out with an audiologist. The person with the hearing loss often blames it on others, assuming that people just ‘aren’t speaking up’ or that people are ‘mumbling all the time.’ People with hearing loss need to be comfortable that wearing hearing aids will not alienate them from friends and family. On the contrary, you can suggest to someone with a hearing problem that they might enjoy their time more if they could partake and understand everything being said.
Advising on hearing healthcare is a tough subject to broach, but it’s vital. Hearing loss can lead to a loss of balance, which could ultimately lead to falls. By speaking up and suggesting a hearing aid, you may be saving a life.
There is no exact prescription for what to say to someone with hearing loss. Everyone is different. One strategy might be to bring it up in a lighthearted way or as a passing mention in conversation. You don’t want to put someone on the defensive by coming down to harshly, even if the constant repetition of your words might become frustrating.
In any case, if you have a loved one with hearing loss, silence is not the answer. It’s the problem. Speak up. Let them hear your words so that one day in the near future they will feel comfortable letting technology give them back a fuller understanding of the world.