With all of our focus on keeping our families healthy during quarantine, turning to resources such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime for interaction, perhaps you have a loved one, partner, or family member who you’ve noticed is experiencing diminished hearing. You’re noticing that they find it harder and harder to hear, and it’s becoming frustrating for them, and for the people around them. Perhaps you want to help, but you don’t know how to go about it?
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For starters, if you’ve noticed a person’s diminished hearing, they have, without a doubt, noticed it, too. Obviously, the person who is experiencing an issue is aware of the problem, so tread lightly when speaking to a loved one about this. Don’t be patronizing or bossy or attempt to fix the problem for them without discussing what they want and need first.
One thing to understand that is there is a stigma surrounding hearing loss, specifically towards hearing aids and devices. This happens for a number of reasons: some people with diminished hearing may be worried about the embarrassment of having a visible hearing aid, of the implications of getting older, or worried that people will see them as weak or disabled. Others may simply be worried about the cost or afraid that their insurance won’t cover the hearing device. Many people worry that they will be too hard to manage, to get used to, or that they won’t be comfortable.
There are many reasons why people initially refuse to get their hearing tested and get hearing devices. You can gently urge your loved one to take steps to restore their hearing if you do so carefully and with knowledge.
The best way to approach the conversation is to avoid shaming or guilting the person in question. Rather, speak to them honestly about your fears and concerns for their wellbeing and overall quality of life. Show them information about hearing aids and how they can help restore hearing. Give them info about the costs associated and how easy the process of getting a hearing test is. If they don’t wish to discuss it, just leave the information with them to look at on their own later. Do not be pushy. If they have any questions, answer them with honest, clear information.
Likely, if you take the time to speak from the heart while acknowledging your loved one’s feelings, they will come around eventually. When the time comes, make sure you are available to drive them and/or accompany them to their appointment with an audiologist. Providing that support is a big help. You can even take a hearing test with them. You should also be around to help them get used to their hearing aid, once they’ve taken that crucial step.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, speak to them today about the possibility of restoring their hearing through a hearing aid. You might be surprised at how receptive they will be if you speak to them sincerely and with compassion.