This is part 1 of a series. Read part 2, “Hearing Loss in the Elderly“
Hearing loss problems affect over one in ten people in the US. Worse still, hearing problems can have unintended consequences for people close to those with hearing loss. No one wants to go out of their way to try and have a simple conversation, and this may make loved ones feel left out and isolated.
Basically, it’s frustrating for everyone. But, if you find yourself exasperated, just remember that your loved one also likely feels uncomfortable asking people to speak up all the time or having to make you repeat yourself. The best way to get through this process is through compassion and understanding.
It’s important to gauge the situation. What are you dealing with? Is your loved one open about their hearing problems? Will they easily go talk to a hearing loss professional to try and to get their problems fixed?
This would be an ideal situation, but unfortunately many think that admitting to their hearing loss is a sign of weakness or old age. They may refuse to get their hearing checked and claim that others are mumbling instead. While this is a frustrating situation, try not to point any blame. When you start the conversation about hearing problems, try to take the attention off of their hearing problems use “I” statements, like:
“I am concerned about your hearing; it would make me feel better if you got it checked out.”
The important thing is to get their hearing checked- by making it about your own discomfort it becomes a much more amiable suggestion. No one likes to get told what to do, and not many people like to let a loved one down, either. Our advice? If you want to help, remember to HELP:
How To H.E.L.P. Hearing Problems
H: Hang in there!- Though the process may become frustrating, research shows that family recommendation and pressure are the number one reason people address their hearing loss problems.
E: Express your feelings- tell them why you and other loved ones are affected by their hearing losss symptoms. Try not to make it about them, make it about the family.
L: Lead by example – Go in for a free hearing test yourself- maybe make it a family trip!
P: Provide a caring environment – Try not to point blame at your loved one, and instead try to be understanding and helpful throughout the process.
Curing Hearing Loss Once And For All
Odds are that hearing aids are going to be the solution to your loved one’s hearing problems. Unfortunately, this complicates things a bit. Many people have misconceived notions about what hearing aids are, how they work and what they really look like.
Good news- This is one battle you don’t have to fight! The most important thing you can do is get your loved one to see how their hearing issues affect everyone else, and then take them to talk with a hearing loss professional. It is important for a professional to analyze the hearing problems, as only a qualified audiologist can truly determine what the issues are and how to treat them correctly.
Once a doctor has the chance to give their professional opinion, the combined pressure from family and physician should be enough to push your loved one in the right direction. Getting hearing aids can make so much better for those with hearing problems and those around them. If you provide the right environment for your loved one to fix their hearing loss, they will be amazed at how you have improved their quality of life.
Schedule An Appointment Today
If you feel like you or a loved one is ready to talk about their hearing problems, stop by your local Optimal Hearing® location for a free baseline hearing screening or call us at 888-461-0922 if you’d like to schedule an appointment.