It can be hard to talk about hearing loss for many different reasons. Some people think hearing loss is a condition that makes them feel “old,” while others see it as a blow to their physical independence.
It’s important to remember that hearing loss is a medical condition that affects 20 percent of Americans, regardless of age. Yes, one in three people over the age of 65 and 50 percent of people throughout 75 experience a degree of hearing loss–but as a normal part of aging, this is not something to be dismissed.
Hearing loss is essentially an intangible disease that, if left untreated, can radiate to many different areas of one’s life. People sit on it for an average of seven years from the moment they first experience improvements in their hearing skills to the time they decide to seek treatment. People can develop stress, depression, and anxiety during this time; increase their risk for dementia, and become socially isolated due to communication difficulties.
When you suspect that your loved one may suffer hearing loss, it’s important to have an action plan to help them seek treatment. Here is some advice on encouraging your loved ones to get a hearing test.
Gather the facts
Hearing loss tools are available online. The American Hearing Loss Association provides resources and information about hearing loss, related issues, and facts on their website.
There may be some reluctance to address hearing loss due to stigma surrounding aging and hearing aids. You will be able to have an intelligent and convincing conversation with your loved one about the importance of getting a hearing test and finding solutions for their hearing loss, with more information in your toolbox.
Choose the correct time and place
To maximize the chances of your loved one listening to you, it is essential to find the right time to speak. Quiet space will, of course, be crucial. Turning off the TV or radio will make it easy to talk through the issues you are experiencing. Also, think about the time of day when your loved one is most receptive to communication. Maybe after their workday, or during the lazy Sunday afternoons.
Talk about your perspective
Communication experts tell us that we should phrase our claims in terms of personal experience. For instance, instead of saying, “You’re always asking me to repeat myself,” you may rephrase it as, “It’s annoying this me when I have to repeat myself often.” In this way, your loved one will feel less like they’re being scolded, but rather be more attentive of your experiences while communicating.
Listen more than you speak
Allow them to answer after you have expressed your worries to your loved one. The chances are they have already noticed changes in their hearing ability. Also, they may have felt doubt, anxiety, lack of trust, and anger about the changes in their hearing abilities.
Allow your loved one the chance to express their feelings and don’t interrupt them. Ask open-ended questions that will help them express more than any yes / no answer ever could.
Be there for them
Your loved one may feel a little nervous about the entire concept of hearing loss and hearing tests. Offer to be their network of assistance.
- Be the one to investigate and pick up the phone for audiologists in your area to help them schedule their first appointment.
- Research the best hearing aids for their lifestyle and budget.
- Find ways to help them communicate their needs to other people to facilitate communication.
Get your own hearing tested
Another way of preserving your loved one is by leading by example. Having your own annual hearing test helps them see it as an important health appointment for everyone your age. If your next hearing test is overdue, join forces with your loved one, and make appointments together.
At A Better Hearing Center, we enjoy working with people to find hearing options that suit their lifestyle and needs. Our thorough hearing tests are painless and non-invasive and can provide a comprehensive picture of any hearing problem to you or someone you care for.