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If you suspect your loved one has hearing loss, it’s highly likely that it is affecting their ability to communicate to you. Maybe you once engaged in lengthy discussions and regularly went to the movies or ate out.
Even stable relationships can begin to break down without regular communication, and hearing loss can exacerbate this. From the cycle of repeating and clarifying, spontaneous jokes lose their spark, and you could both start feeling frustrated and upset, preferring to sit in silence because it’s easier than trying to communicate.
Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding hearing loss and the use of hearing aids is still evident. This may be why people usually wait for about seven years from the time they detect a decline in their hearing to the time they seek assistance. Untreated hearing loss will affect our mental functioning, our social lives, and our efficiency in the workplace during that period.
If you’re worried that your loved one might suffer hearing loss, confronting them, and encouraging them to seek help is crucial. The following tips are essential to bear in mind when discussing the possibility of hearing loss with your loved one. While it seems like an uphill battle, encouraging them to get a hearing test may be the best thing you can do for them, and your relationship as a whole.
Know the facts
Before you start talking to your loved one, use online information to learn all about hearing loss. Many studies are available which show the detriment to other areas of life affected by an untreated hearing loss, whether it be family, employment, social life, or mental and physical health.
A study by Johns Hopkins University for instance has found that untreated hearing loss affects cognitive abilities and could lead to an increased risk of developing dementia. Further research also highlights the lower incomes garnered by those in the workforce with untreated hearing loss, as well as a higher risk of injuries, falls, and hospitalization.
Knowing some of the nuances of hearing loss and getting details ready are perfect ways to start that conversation with a loved one.
Choose the right time and place.
When you believe you have a good handle on hearing loss problems, take time to talk to your loved one. Choose a quiet, private place to talk. Make sure you’re emotionally ready to bring the subject up compassionately and patiently. It’s also crucial for you to note that people with hearing loss gain from reading your body language, and it’s best to sit in front of them while having a conversation.
Rather than starting by demanding your loved one take a hearing test, why not start with some questions? Just ask your loved one if they have any difficulties hearing, or express concern that they haven’t been enjoying the social gatherings you both went to. Your loved one may become defensive or reject the issue out of hand. If that happens, waiting for another time is okay. Just by introducing the idea, you’re planting seeds for future conversations.
Listen to your loved one
Listen to your loved one during your discussions with them. Chances are, they’ve also noticed their hearing loss. Ask plenty of questions and give your loved one time not to formulate their responses to it. They’re the ones coping with hearing loss, and they may feel feelings or thoughts you haven’t considered yet. When asking questions, try keeping them open to keep the conversation flowing.
Get the help of friends with hearing loss
You may also know someone else with hearing loss. Ask your friend to talk to your loved one. Having a role model, or someone who has taken measures to overcome their hearing loss will help your loved one. They can also relate to your loved one’s hearing loss issues and encourage them to seek help and get their hearing back. This is especially powerful if the the person is closer to your loved one.
If your loved one acknowledges a hearing loss but is worried about going for a hearing test, you could even invite a fellow friend or family member to get their hearing tested too. It’s suggested that everyone over the age of 50 have their hearing tested once every few years, and every year those over 65 will test their hearing. If your loved one has a friend checking their hearing too, it won’t be so daunting.
Once your loved one is ready to commit to a hearing test, talk to us! We offer hearing tests, and everything your loved one will need to treat a hearing loss if it is found.