Do you have a loved one who’s struggling to hear? Are they reticent to admit to their hearing loss, and deny that they’re not hearing clearly? As you’ve discovered, hearing loss affects not only the person who’s hard of hearing, but their friends and loved ones as well. If your loved one has never taken a hearing test, here are some tips to follow when encouraging them to take a hearing test.
Know the Facts
Approaching your loved one about their hearing loss can be challenging. They may not want to talk about their hearing loss or think it’s not a big deal. Before you start a conversation with your loved one about their hearing loss, make sure you know the facts. Nearly 40 million Americans of all ages have hearing loss, and the risk of hearing loss increases with age. If your loved one is over the age of 65, there’s a 50% chance they have hearing loss.
Living with untreated hearing loss has a lot of negative outcomes, and if your loved ones doesn’t treat their hearing loss, they’ll face social isolation, loneliness, or even depression. Those with untreated hearing loss also experience more rapid cognitive decline, suffer from more injuries, have higher doctor’s bills, and risk an earlier onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Starting the Conversation
Ready to talk to your loved one about their hearing loss? It’s important to make sure they know you’re on the same team, and that you’re on their side. You’re not blaming them for anything, and you want to work together to find a solution. Start with “I” statements, and tell them what you’ve noticed. For example, you can say “I’ve noticed that you didn’t hear the phone ringing yesterday” or “I’ve seen that you turn up the volume on the TV.” This will help your loved one feel safe, and know you’re not attacking them. Point out the tell-tale signs of hearing loss, such as struggling to follow conversations, asking people to repeat themselves, and straining to hear on the phone.
Your loved one may get defensive and blame others, saying that if everyone would stop mumbling or speak louder, they’d be able to hear. Be gentle with your loved one, and point out that if everyone seems to be mumbling, maybe the others are not the problem, but the problem is with your loved one’s ears. Remind your loved one how much you care about them, and how you want them to enjoy easy communication and a great quality of life. With your support, they’ll be ready to talk about their hearing loss.
Find a Friend with Hearing Loss
It’s likely that you know someone else with hearing loss. Ask your friend to speak to your loved one. Finding a role model, or someone who’s gone through the steps to treating their hearing loss can reassure your loved one. They’ll also be able to relate to your loved one’s experiences with hearing loss, and encourage them to seek treatment and get their hearing back.
Accompany your Loved One to the Hearing Test
Is your loved one ready to take a hearing test, and start their journey to clear hearing? Offer to accompany your loved one to the hearing test. They’ll appreciate the support and encouragement, and feel more confident in going to the appointment with someone. Not only that, but two heads are better than one, and your loved one will get more out of the appointment if you’re both there listening and asking questions. Take a note pad along, and take notes during the appointment. You can discuss the results of the hearing test at home, and together make a great decision on the best treatment options for your loves one’s hearing loss.
At Audiology Concepts, we’re happy to welcome both you and your loved one to the hearing test. The comprehensive test includes a visual exam to check for any signs of damage to the ear or blockage in the ear canal. We’ll also ask a few questions about your medical history to make sure we’re not missing anything. Finally, we’ll test your loved one’s ability to hear high and low sounds, at both soft and loud volumes. Afterwards, you’ll be able to see exactly which sounds they can and can’t hear, and together we’ll find the perfect hearing aids that will match their unique hearing needs and lifestyle.