Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the individual who has it. Partners, family members and friends also feel the consequences. These groups might find themselves having to repeat things over and over, and it can be heart-breaking to see a somebody shut themselves away from the people and activities they enjoy.
There are many signs of hearing loss and your loved one may not have them all. However, exhibiting even a few of these signs could indicate that they need to get their hearing checked. Here are some of the most common indications they may need help:
- they turn up the TV louder than others need it to be
- they claim others mumble all the time
- they find it tough to hear when on the phone
- they don’t like going to restaurants because they can’t follow conversations
- they become socially-isolated because it too much effort to go out
- they find it hard to deal with loud noises and sometimes complains that they understand you, but other times they say that you’re shouting
- their hearing loss leads them to be feel more frustrated than usual.
It’s understandable to want to help a loved one who is experiencing these symptoms. However, for many different reasons, the topic of hearing loss can be a sensitive one to raise. Some people think that treating hearing loss with hearing aids makes them look old, while others simply do not even notice the changes in their hearing. You will likely encounter resistance from your loved one about their hearing loss, so you’ll need to approach the conversation gently and tactfully. We offer some advice on how to best broach the topic with your loved one.
Starting the conversation
Talk to your loved one about the problems they have with hearing. Be patient, as it is normal for someone to deny they even have hearing loss at all. Hearing loss often comes on gradually and so the signs can sometimes be difficult to recognize. You can gently remind them that it isn’t normal to have to “translate” or repeat things for them so often.
You might even ask them about whether they can hear the everyday sounds around you. It is usually the higher pitched sounds that are lost first and so they may not hear the bird song around you in a wooded area, the telephone or doorbell ring for example. Making them aware of all the sounds they are missing may help them to realize that their hearing abilities have changed.
You could also talk about any safety concerns you may have. Everyday situations such as crossing the road may be more difficult or even dangerous if you are not able to hear well. This issue is amplified if your loved one routinely looks after young family members.
Talk about the long-term value of treating hearing loss. Some people become socially isolated and may stop going out due to the effort required to understand others in challenging listening environments. This could lead to problems such as depression and dementia. Hearing aids help keep the brain active. It is important to keep these parts of the ear and brain working to reduce the risks of cognitive and mental conditions down the line.
When they admit they might have a problem
If your loved one is receptive to the idea they might have hearing loss, it doesn’t mean they are ready for treatment. They may express concerns about the look and performance of hearing aids. In this situation, it’s helpful to talk about how developments in technology have drastically improved the way hearing aids look and perform.
As they might have more questions you can’t answer, encourage them to do more research themselves to get their questions answered. Following this, a good first step could be taking an online hearing check which will identify any general issues and can be used a bridge to seeing a specialist. Once they are ready, offer to schedule and attend a hearing consultation with them. Let them know they have little to lose, and that you are with them every step of the way.
Helping your loved one begin their journey towards healthy hearing can help set them up for a better quality of life. If you have helped them on the right path, well done to you. Why not help them schedule a hearing consultation with Evergreen Audiology today?