Has a loved one recently been diagnosed with a hearing loss? Or perhaps you’re concerned that someone you care about is struggling to hear and you’re unsure how to talk to them about it. We’ve put together some tips on how to talk to your loved one about hearing loss.
A sensitive conversation such as this is best planned ahead of time and held in a private, relaxing, quiet place. Allow plenty of time for talking and think about how they must be feeling. Approach the topic from a place of caring to help prevent a defensive reaction.
Offer Your Support
Rather than saying “I think you need your hearing checked”, try "I noticed recently your TV was on very loud, I was wondering if you might be having trouble hearing?"
Ask them to describe any situations they have had difficulty hearing, such as conversations with a lot of background noise. Actively listen and use open questions, it may help them see the situation more clearly. Offer to help find professional advice and solutions, and to attend any hearing appointments with them.
Highlight The Benefits Of Treatment
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect the individual, it can have an impact on the entire family too. There are positives to seeking treatment for hearing loss. Communication can improve, feelings of social isolation can be reduced, and improved safety are just a few. Studies are also increasingly showing how loss of hearing in older adults can lead to several problems, including higher risks of dementia.
Do Some Research
So that if your loved one is open to further discussion, you can inform them of the help available; community support groups, yoga classes, nutrition advice, and more. Explain how common hearing loss is, show them how hearing aids have advanced and are barely visible anymore. If you know someone with first hand experience of hearing loss treatment, why not offer to arrange a chat with them and your loved one?
It may take a few conversations before your loved one accepts their hearing loss. In any conversation, only discuss as much as they seem willing to take on board at the time. They may feel like hearing loss is a sign that their best days are passed, or they may feel their symptoms aren’t serious enough. Your goal here is to repeatedly offer support, love and awareness of the help available.
Tips for Communicating
Now that you’ve decided to have the conversation, these tips will help your loved one with hearing loss.
- Do speak in a clear normal voice, toward their face so they can lipread.
- Do make plenty of eye contact
- Do offer encouragement
- Don’t shout
- Don’t talk directly into their ear
- Don’t just repeat yourself if they don’t understand you. Rephrase instead or ask them to repeat back what they did hear and go from there
Come in and See What Family Audiology Has to Offer
Rest assured, we understand how difficult it can be for your loved one to ask for professional help and to accept a hearing loss. Our professional and caring team will explain every part of the process from first contact through to treatment options. Book a hearing assessment today by calling us on 607-323-4061, or click here to request an appointment online.