Healthy relationships are dependent upon healthy communication. One of the most important ways we communicate is through spoken language. When someone close to us begins to suffer from hearing loss, our ways of communication are altered. When this occurs, blockages and impediments are created making communication difficult.
It is hard to keep in mind that your loved may not be aware of their own symptoms of hearing loss. On the surface they may seem not to care. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact, they might be even apprehensive and confused about the changes they are experiencing. If you suspect your loved one may have a hearing loss, it is important to encourage them to seek a hearing test.
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
Do you know the signs of hearing loss? They might occur gradually over time so it’s important to know what to watch out for. Is the person you have in mind consistently asking people to repeat themselves? Are they turning up the volume to the point of discomfort to others around them? Are they becoming less involved in social and family gatherings?
Hearing loss comes with a many negative connotations and stereotypes so it is a difficult subject to broach. Unfortunately, hearing loss is a prevalent public health issue that reaches all demographics. In fact, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.”
Hearing loss is not a condition to be ignored because if that happens it only gets worse and results in permanent damage. If you’re loved is suffering from hearing decline it is in their best interest to have it attended. Which begs the question, how do you approach them? The following are some tips and suggestions as to how bring up the question and to get them the help they need.
Know the Fact
Get acquainted with the hard facts about hearing loss. There are vast resources available online to draw from and plenty of evidence to substantiate the effects of hearing loss from poor mental health, depression, lowered income, and of course, the weakening of relationships in social and familial circles. A simple search will bring up statistics that show an uptick in health and safety issues and increased hospital costs.
Recent medical studies also corroborate the link between dementia, decreased cognitive abilities and hearing loss.
As you become familiar with these facts, know that hearing loss is on the list of the top three national health concerns asides from cancer and diabetes. Hearing loss is no longer a condition relegated to those over 50.
Timing and Location are Important
When you feel you have a good handle on the issues regarding hearing loss, its causes as well as options on how it can be addressed find a time to speak to your loved one. Taking into account that hearing loss makes communication difficult, choose a place to talk that is quiet and private. Be sure that you are also in a good place mentally to bring the subject up in an even-handed, compassionate manner. It is also important for you to remember that people suffering from hearing loss benefit from reading your body language and it would be best to sit facing them whilst having a conversation.
Listen and Use “I” Statements
Always phrase and share your experiences and feelings using “I”, as it helps to share the difficulties you have experienced without getting them on the defense. The goal is to get your loved one to open up to the discussion of hearing loss so it is best to be patient and do most of the listening so that they don’t feel cornered.
Phrase your questions in open-ended manner so that it really is a productive discussion. Often times, they will probably be relieved that the frustrations and difficulties they have been going through have been recognized.
Don’t interrupt them when they speak and let them speak freely about their experiences and how hearing loss has affected them. In this manner, ways to address the hearing loss and the need to attend to it in a pragmatic manner can manifest.
Encouragement and Support
Though it may be a difficult subject to broach, chances are that your loved one will be appreciative of your efforts. Offer to go with them or find another family member that is willing to accompany them to get an assessment. It really helps to have a loved one around when dealing with medical conditions. Plus, the support will give them the strength they need to take that first step.
dB Hearing Center
Here at dB Hearing Center, we are available for any questions you or your loved one might have. Setting up an appointment for the first evaluation with us will be a positive and empowering start on the road to better hearing health for your loved one. We look forward to hearing from you.