There are numerous ways you can support your loved one with hearing loss. One of the best and most useful strategies for support is to encourage them to take a hearing test. Hearing tests are the first step towards addressing and treating hearing loss. They may be putting this off or maybe they don’t even acknowledge their experience of hearing loss. This could make having this conversation challenging so here are a few tips to best help you navigate this while offering much needed support:
- Learn more about hearing loss. It is helpful to start by doing some initial research about hearing loss. There is ample information and resources available online which can provide you with concrete talking points. This includes common hearing loss symptoms, impact of untreated hearing loss, the accessibility of treatment, and all about hearing aids – the most common treatment for impaired hearing. Knowing more about hearing loss can better help you understand what both you and your loved one is experiencing as well as steps to take to seek treatment. Your loved one may not know the scope of hearing loss and how simple, effective, and beneficial treatment is. So being prepared to share this information is a great way to encourage as well as destigmatize their treatment
- Be intentional about time and place of conversation. When setting up time to have this conversation, it is important to be thoughtful about it. You should choose a place that is comfortable for your loved one. This includes little to no background noise, few interruptions or distractions, and a familiar place where you can have what could be an uncomfortable conversation. Also, be sure to allocate plenty of time so that no one is rushing through such an important discussion.
- Describe your experience of their hearing loss. Another helpful tip is to start by sharing your direct experience of their hearing loss. This is useful because sometimes, people don’t realize that their hearing loss not only impacts them but those around them as well. In fact, untreated hearing loss can significantly strain relationships over time because it causes a breakdown of communication and can prevent spending quality time with others. Be sure to use “I” rather than “you” statements when sharing what you’ve observed and the impact symptoms have had on your relationship. This can be simple things like watching TV or movies is difficult because they need the volume to be too high, they’re participating less in your conversations and don’t seem present, they want to go out less with you etc.
- Share the impact of untreated hearing loss. This is also where your research comes in handy! Untreated hearing loss can have multifaceted effects on health, relationships, work and social life etc. It strains communication which is integral to how we navigate daily life. Symptoms can worsen impairment which takes a toll on communication, relationships, work performance, social engagement, and health. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of developing other health issues. This includes cognitive decline, depression, accidental injuries etc. It also often leads to social withdrawal because conversations become too tasking to engage in. This means avoiding social activities, spending less time with loved ones, and increased insolation which can impact mental health and wellness.
- Discuss the benefits of treatment. Treating hearing loss offers countless life-changing benefits. Treatment alleviates symptoms and maximizes one’s hearing capacity. This strengthens communication, allowing people to navigate conversations and social spaces with greater ease and support. People are also more able to spend quality time with others and be more present, improving relationships. Treating hearing loss also improves overall health by reducing health risks, strengthened cognitive functions, and increasing spatial awareness as well as safety.
- Offer continued support. Hearing loss can feel isolating so reiterating your support on their hearing loss journey is important. You can offer to attend their hearing consultation appointment with them and even have your hearing assessed too! This shows that you will be an active part of their hearing loss journey.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can support your loved one with hearing loss. We can also get an appointment for a hearing consultation scheduled!