Little things, such as turning the volume up too high on the TV or asking you to repeat yourself more and more frequently, are gradual indicators that your loved one has or is developing a hearing loss.
Although these things are annoying, when your loved one begins to withdraw or become uninterested in going out with family and friends or bowing out of social gatherings – it should prompt greater concern.
Because an untreated hearing loss can have extensive effects on mental and emotional health and lead to additional physiological health problems, it will become necessary to open a discussion with your loved one about the possibility of hearing loss and a hearing assessment.
I understand how difficult this can be, so I have provided you with several steps you can take to help a loved one with hearing loss.
Begin With Compassion
The most significant error most people make when addressing their loved ones about hearing loss is their failure to be compassionate.
Individuals with hearing loss can be anxious and depressed, as well as feeling broken and undervalued. A confrontational approach only leads to defensiveness and further withdrawal.
Consequently, it is essential to have an attitude of compassion, advocating their wellbeing, not pushing your agenda, regardless of how well-meaning it might be.
You have to know what you are talking about to help your loved one address their hearing loss problem—access information about hearing loss and take notes.
The National Institution on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is an excellent place to begin educating yourself. The knowledge that hearing loss is relatively common and not a sign of being broken and useless, along with the encouraging news that their condition is treatable, provides reassurance.
Spend some time exploring the innovative digital hearing aids currently available, noting that they are far different from those bulky, ugly things their grandparents wore.
Consider the sleek, lightweight, high-performance designs of 21st-century hearing aids, which are only noticeable to those who know that you are wearing them.
Consider some guidance regarding intervention strategies, which will facilitate addressing your loved one about the issue.
Address The Issue, Not The Individual
The first response of your loved one when addressing their hearing loss will probably be denial.
Be prepared for a harsh response so that you can keep yourself from responding in kind. Instead, avoid confronting the individual and address the issue.
Your objective is not to make them feel ashamed but to provide assurance that there are solutions to their condition. This is where the information you gained through educating yourself will come in handy.
The wise approach is, to begin with, an attitude of love, concern, and understanding while pointing to studies concerning the additional health risks of untreated hearing loss along with the simple solutions that are available.
Be sure to communicate your support of their decision, even if you disagree, to keep a line of communication open.
Suggest A Hearing Assessment
Until an audiologist identifies the hearing loss issue of your loved one with an actual hearing evaluation, there is no way to correct their condition.
Consequently, your ultimate goal is to encourage your loved one to have a hearing assessment. As you should know, due to the research you have done, a hearing test is a simple, non-invasive procedure, which allows an audiologist to identify the cause of the hearing loss and prescribe an adequate treatment plan.
Going along with them to their appointment is comforting and can assist the audiologist in their evaluation process.
You might even consider a screening for yourself, too, sharing in their experience. Finally, if you are having difficulty getting through, use the knowledge you gained to confer with your loved one’s primary physician, asking for a hearing test referral.
We’re Here To Help Residents In Pensacola
Getting your loved one to a hearing evaluation is the best way to help them with hearing loss. However, using a compassionate approach, focusing on confronting the issue rather than the person by educating yourself, will produce a much better outcome.
Having cared for tens of thousands of patients, multiple generations of families, and many local organizations, including Hearing Aid Bank, Sertoma Clubs, and many more for over 45 years, The Hearing Center at Medical Center Clinic is well regarded as the Florida Panhandle’s most trusted audiological experts.