It’s the time of year when family and friends get together to celebrate during the shortest days of the year. It may be at these get togethers that you begin to notice a love one acting distant or confused. It may just seem as if they are just not listening, being absent-minded or preoccupied.
In order to address hearing loss, we must first acknowledge the signs of hearing loss. Does your loved one turn up the volume way too high on the TV or radio? Are they always asking you to repeat yourself? Do they seem withdrawn or distant lately? These are just a few signs of hearing loss.
If you suspect that a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss, the plan of action should be to take a hearing test as soon as possible. Convincing your loved one to take a hearing test, however is often not such an easy task. Try not to get frustrated, nag or pester your loved one. Trying to force them may make them want to resist your important advice. Remember, hearing loss can be a sensitive topic for some who associate hearing loss with “growing old.” Try to remind your loved one of the things they’re missing out on and would love to hear again. Gentle encouragement could one day get your loved ones to seek the hearing care that they need.
Hearing loss is serious and can burden relationships, isolate people, and lead to much confusion, misunderstanding, and anger. For these reasons and many more, it’s essential to not ignore the problem of hearing loss, and to encourage and help your loved ones deal with it immediately. If you are concerned and want your loved one to take action, here are a few tips on encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
There is a lot of information online about hearing loss. Over the decades, there have been countless studies about how untreated hearing loss can affect all areas of one’s life: employment, mental health, physical health, and of course, interpersonal relationships. Studies from Johns Hopkins have found that untreated hearing loss affects your cognitive abilities and could increase the risk for developing dementia. Other studies show how untreated hearing loss could lead to lower earning power in the workplace and a higher risk for falls and accidents and hospitalizations.
Familiarize yourself with hearing loss facts and have them ready when encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME & THE RIGHT PLACE
Keep in mind that hearing loss affects speech recognition abilities. This is why communication is a challenge with untreated hearing loss. You’ll want to choose a time and a place that is quiet to accommodate your loved one’s condition. Avoid going to a busy café or restaurant to have this conversation. It will be difficult for your loved one to hear what you’re saying. Turn down or turn off background music so it does not get in the way of this important conversation. Sit so that you are facing your loved one and make sure the room is well-lit. When accommodating hearing loss, people begin to use facial expressions and lip reading to compensate for what they cannot hear.
DISCUSS YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES WITH YOUR LOVED ONE
Speaking about one’s hearing loss can be a sensitive topic, and for this reason, you want to avoid making your loved one feel defensive. Rather than pouring all of your frustrations on them, discuss your experiences with them that have been challenging for you. Speak on specific examples, if possible rather than accusing statements about their actions such as; “Remember this past dinner party at the table?” Use “I” statements rather than things like “You always do this.”
There is a huge chance your loved one already is aware that something has changed. Give them an opportunity to discuss their fears and frustrations with the changes in their hearing. Ask open-ended questions about their experience and how they’ve been adjusting. Allow them to speak uninterrupted.
OFFER YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO TAKE A HEARING TEST
Hearing loss can be an isolating experience. More than likely, your loved one will appreciate your care and concern for their well-being, as well as for valuing your relationship with one another. Offer your loved one support on their journey to better hearing health and remind them that the first step on this journey is to take a hearing test.
At Pacific Hearing Care, we provide comprehensive hearing tests. Our team is here to support you and your loved ones as you seek treatment for better hearing health. Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam!