Talking to a Loved One about Hearing Loss

Talking to a Loved One about Hearing Loss

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A Communication, Family & Relationships, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Tips & Tricks

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

Is your loved one struggling to hear? Do you have a hard time communicating and feel like your relationship is suffering? It can be difficult to know how to talk about hearing loss, and starting the conversation can be tricky. Many people feel a stigma around hearing loss and are unwilling to admit that they can’t hear as well as they used to. Talking to your loved one about hearing loss is important if you want to maintain your relationship, and see them have a happy and healthy life, so here are a few tips on how to get the conversation started.

Know the Signs of Hearing Loss

Before you start the conversation, make sure you’re familiar with the signs of hearing loss. Come armed with facts. Does your loved one crank up the volume on the TV, or complain that everyone around them is mumbling? Do they ask you to repeat yourself over and over again, and still have a hard time making sense of what you’ve said? If your loved one has trouble talking on the phone, sleeps through the alarm, or doesn’t hear the stove alarm beeping, they may be struggling with hearing loss.

Another common sign of hearing loss is avoiding group situations. Your loved one may be able to hear during one on one conversations, but feels completely lost in groups, especially when there’s a lot of background noise, or several conversations happening at once. Your loved one might look confused, or answer inappropriately when someone asks them a question.

Talking About Hearing Loss

When you decide to have this conversation with your loved one, pick your words carefully. Your loved one may be defensive about their hearing loss and feel attacked. They might not want to admit to hearing loss because of the stigma around struggling to hear, and they will likely try to avoid the conversation all together.

Be patient, but persistent. Use “I” statements when talking about hearing loss. Never use accusatory language, and avoid saying things like “you never hear me when I call to you from another room”. Rather, use an I statement, by saying “I notice that you can’t hear me”. This puts yourself into the situation, and shows your loved one you aren’t blaming them for not being able to hear you.

Talk more about the positives than the negatives. Rather than focus on the negatives of hearing loss, like all the things your loved one is missing out on, talk about the positives. Discuss how treating hearing loss will help them stay active, attend more social events, or have better relationships with their grandkids.

Finding Success Stories

Nearly half of seniors have hearing loss, so you probably know someone who’s treated their hearing loss. Ask your friend to tell you a bit out their journey with treating their hearing loss, and how getting hearing aids turned things around for them. Your loved one will feel encouraged knowing that others have faced the same struggles, and have successfully treated their hearing loss. This will give them more confidence in seeking treatment and doing the right thing for their hearing health.

Tell Them About Modern Hearing Aids

Your loved one may be reluctant to treat their hearing loss if they’re imagining hearing aids from decades past. Hearing technology improves every day, and modern devices are sleek, sophisticated devices that will do things your loved one could never imagine. From nearly invisible designs to rechargeable devices, the best in connectivity features, and programs and settings that will help in every listening environment, nothing about modern hearing devices will make your loved one look or feel old. In fact, being able to hear clearly, enjoy conversations again, and get out more, will have everyone commenting on how young they seem.

Scheduling a Hearing Test

After you’ve talked to your loved one about hearing loss, it’s time to schedule a hearing test. Call us today at Professional Hearing Services to find a convenient time, and offer to accompany your loved one to the appointment. A little moral support goes a long way, and we’ll be happy to talk to both of you about all their hearing concerns so we can find the perfect device to get your loved one back to hearing clearly and participating fully in the world around them.