How to help a loved one with hearing loss is a common question.
That’s because it’s not only hard to understand what they’re going through, but they also often can’t accept they even have a hearing loss, much less acknowledge that something needs to be done.
That includes you, by the way. If you’re struggling to admit your hearing isn’t what it used to be, you’re not alone.
Here are some tips we’ve found helpful which will encourage and uplift your loved ones (including you) to make that all-important journey to acceptance and treatment.
The First Signs of Hearing Loss
When someone’s hearing ability has declined, the people who notice first are those who spend the most time with that person.
Typically, that’s family or friends, or sometimes co-workers.
The person with a hearing loss usually isn’t the first to know. That’s because that person literally can’t know what they’re missing. One common giveaway is when others have to repeat themselves.
Maybe they make inappropriate or nonsensical responses during conversations because they misunderstood the question or comment. Perhaps they’re turning the TV volume up too loud or maybe they’re not whispering when they think they are.
If it’s you with the hearing loss, you might find that people are getting tired of repeating themselves. In fact, they might start telling you to never mind and leave you out of conversations altogether.
In short, they (or you) are missing out on life. And how fun is that? Not at all.
That’s why depression, withdrawal from conversations, and avoidance of noisy situations, such as large dinners or parties, are big problems for those with a hearing impairment, leading to a spiral of decline.
Unfortunately, many people fail to acknowledge the symptoms of hearing loss and it is only years later, when they are suffering from repercussions, that they take matters into their hands. Typically, it takes the average person between 7-10 years before seeking treatment.
Why Do People Avoid Hearing Loss Treatment?
Most people don’t like to admit they’re getting older, yet not all hearing loss is age related. Certain jobs and hobbies can cause hearing loss too.
This leads us to the crux of the issue: people avoid treating a hearing loss because they don’t want to admit they have a problem. Admitting there’s a problem means something has to be done about it.
And “something” involves change.
Most people dislike change, especially when that change is strongly perceived to be negative. Taking a step into the unknown, with potentially unpleasant consequences, is not welcomed by most people.
Yet the assistance available to those needing hearing loss treatment has never been better.
For example, hearing aids used to work poorly for many types of hearing impairment. Yet today the technology is vastly improved from earlier years. Today’s quality hearing aids can make dramatic quality of life improvements that simply weren’t possible before.
And while the cost can be a factor, there are usually plenty of options to help make things easier. The results should be worth it.
In our experience, many people who take the plunge and pursue a solution have commented that they wish they hadn’t waited so long to take action.
More Tips on Supporting Someone with a Hearing Loss
Helping a loved one (including yourself) with a hearing loss involves a few simple ideas.
- Make your loved one comfortable with accepting treatment.
You know better than anyone else how to approach a sensitive subject with a loved one, so keep that person’s unique personality in mind. Perhaps you can frame your concerns around medical needs, personal safety, or missed social opportunities.
- Consider emphasizing that you need to know they’re okay and that the problem — if there is one — can be fixed.
The solution is more than a hearing appointment and eventually a hearing aid, though. Likely, you’ll also need to provide some support by acting as an interpreter when the other person hasn’t heard something in a conversation. Plenty of encouragement goes a long way too.
And be sure to accompany them when they do agree to an appointment with a doctor and/or a qualified audiologist. They will appreciate the support as well as a familiar face and voice.
- Educate yourself.
Try learning more about potential hearing loss causes and prospective treatments. We have plenty of helpful articles here on our Audiological Services website you can read.
How to Take the Next Step?
If you’re unsure of what to do next, Audiological Services would be happy to answer your questions and offer guidance on what’s next.
We love to get to know potential patients and their concerns, and we have plenty of experience in providing solutions that work for your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
So, if you or a loved one is ready to reach out about treating a hearing loss, please get in touch. We look forward to helping you hear well and live a fuller life.