Talking to Your Loved Ones About Hearing Loss
You may think that your loved one’s hearing loss is very obvious, and might even feel frustrated that they haven’t gotten it checked out or taken steps to help. However, for many individuals, hearing loss comes on gradually, and they might not even know how impaired their hearing has become. Being able to talk to your loved ones with care, compassion, and facts will be the most effective in dealing with addressing their hearing loss. Read on for tips and tricks for talking to your friends and family about their hearing loss.
As stated above, your loved one may not even know that they are experiencing hearing loss that is noticeable to others. Be understanding that your frustrations may not be something they have thought about, and that finding out that this impairment is affecting others may be distressing. While you are understanding, be firm about the severity of the problem, and don’t let them just get off with an “I just need to pay more attention”, or “maybe YOU talk too quietly.” Even if you and other family members have been noticing for months (or years) that grandpa Bob’s hearing is declining, he may have no idea. No one wants to find out that their hearing is impaired, so treat this conversation with care and understanding.
Use Your Experience
Having concrete examples to share with your loved one can help illustrate what you are seeing. If you watched your children try to get grandma’s attention over and over without her noticing, or if the phone rings and rings at your uncle’s house without him realizing it, these are examples you can use. Use how the hearing loss affects your own personal experience, and try to use “I” and not “you” as much as possible. Instead of saying “your hearing loss is affecting me”, say “I’m worried about your hearing loss.” Talking without placing blame will make it easier for your loved one to accept what you are saying, and to really see how you are being affected by hearing loss. Don’t frame this as “their” problem that you are trying to fix, but rather a situation that affects everyone involved, and that together you can find a solution for.
Talk About the Risks
While your loved one may think that their hearing is no big deal, you can cite other health risks to help drive home how important this topic is. Hearing loss can affect your physical, psychological, social, and cognitive health and really can negatively impact your whole life. When someone experiences hearing loss over a period of time, it can cause them to avoid social situations like restaurant lunches and crowded parties because hearing is difficult. Constantly straining to hear can leave someone frustrated and exhausted, and lead to irritability and anger. Isolating yourself from activities you love can result in depression, stress, and anxiety. This isolation can impact someone’s whole life, and can diminish their quality of life. Their work life can suffer, and they may be unable to work, or find a new job, due to hearing loss. When you are not able to hear incoming sounds, pathways in your brain are not stimulated, and you can have impaired cognitive function. This can include memory loss, and inability to learn new information and skills. Think of how all of these negative consequences can impact someone’s life, and use this to stress that you are concerned about the long term effects of your loved one’s hearing loss. Sometimes denial or ignorance of the problem can lead someone to not consider the lasting impacts something like hearing loss can have on their life.
Just because you are ready to take action and address hearing loss does not mean that your loved one is. You need to be patient, especially if this is the first time you are talking about hearing loss, and let your loved one take steps on their own time. Maybe you think that the very next day will be the best time to schedule a hearing exam and get the process started, but that might seem overwhelming to someone just becoming aware there is a problem. Be patient, stay calm, and hopefully your care will help your loved one decide to take steps toward helping their hearing.
Just because you are going to be patient, doesn’t mean you need to ignore the problem. If your loved one is not taking action, but still constantly asking you to repeat yourself, call attention in a kind way to it. By alerting them each time you need to repeat yourself, they will become more aware of how often their hearing loss is impacting conversations. This reinforcement might be what finally alerts them to the severity of the problem and helps them seek help.
Address Their Fears
Maybe your loved one has known that their hearing loss was a problem but had fears that held them back from taking action. Find out what their preconceived notions about hearing solutions are. For instance, do they think that hearing aids will be too expensive? Reassure them that Factory Direct Hearing offers hearing aids at a fraction of the traditional cost. Have they heard that hearing aids don’t really work, or just make everything really loud? Let them know about the innovation in the hearing aid world, and how hearing aids may be different than what they think they are. They might also not want to address their impairment because they are afraid that there aren’t any solutions. If you can get to the root of their fears about hearing loss, you can really start to help them find solutions!
If you know someone who uses hearing aids and likes them, definitely share the story! Giving real-life examples can help your loved one not feel so alone, and show them that there are other people dealing with the very same issues. Any sort of physical impairment can make one feel isolated, alone, and hopeless, and knowing that others are struggling as well (and have found solutions!) can be very uplifting and empowering.
Talk About Solutions
Don’t just address a hearing problem and leave it at that. Do your own research first to find out what kinds of hearing solutions are available. When you already know of a great resource like Factory Hearing Direct, you can share helpful information with your loved one. Let them know the advances that have been made in the hearing aid world, including the size of hearing aids, the customization, and the features that can make conversation easier. If you have a game plan ready for when they are, you can get them started as soon as they are willing on a path toward better hearing.
Factory Hearing Direct is so unique because all you need is a hearing test, and we take care of the rest! Your loved one will not have countless doctor’s appointments to try to deal with hearing aid fitting, instead, their hearing aids are shipped directly to their door, ready to use! When you already have a solution like Factory Direct Hearing ready, it will give your loved one a great next step in dealing with hearing loss. With brands like Siemens, Widex, Oticon, and ReSound, there is a hearing aid for everyone! Help your loved ones regain their hearing, and take back parts of their lives that have suffered!