Whether or not they’re aware of it, there is a good chance your loved one has hearing loss. Here's how you can help.
Recognize Hearing Loss is Stressful
Before you step in, it’s important to recognize how stressful living with hearing loss can be. People with hearing loss tend to feel frustrated, isolated or worn out. They may blame themselves for the trouble they have understanding others or mistake their intelligence for the problem. Even after hearing loss is identified as a problem, they may be reluctant to recognize the severity of the problem or to treat it. Addressing their hearing impairment may make them feel weak, disabled, or old. For these reasons, it's important to approach the issue respectfully and with sensitivity.
Tips for Having the Conversation
It’s best to have a one-on-one conversation in a quiet place where you can speak face-to-face. This will help make sure your loved one can hear and understand you easily. Here are some tips for the discussion:
Ask if they want you to schedule and attend a hearing evaluation with them. It’s recommended that each of us gets a baseline test, so even if it reveals no loss, he or she will have taken a step toward better health.
Remind your loved one how common hearing loss is (affecting 1 in 3 adults over age 65 and 1 in 6 people age 41-59).
Discuss the benefits of being able to hear well again, like enjoying family dinners or going to the movies again.
Let them know hearing aids have changed. They are now small, highly effective, and compatible with many other technologies like cell phones and computers.
Encourage them to have a hearing evaluation
Some people may be willing to schedule a hearing test right away. But for most folks, this will be the start of a dialog. Be patient and continue to raise awareness by gently noting instances when they do not hear something or hear it correctly to raise awareness of how much it affects your lives.