While some may easily come to terms with hearing loss, it may be difficult for others to accept reality. Talking to your loved one about hearing loss doesn’t have to be complicated, even though it’s not an easy subject to discuss. Below are some tips on talking about hearing loss with a loved one.
1. Carefully select the time and place. Most may not appreciate being told about their hearing loss in a public place or family gathering. And, as expected, a noisy environment can be quite a nuisance when communicating with someone affected by hearing loss. Offer to meet quietly and/or in private so the other party is comfortable and at ease with discussing the topic at hand.
2. Speak with love. Don’t approach the topic in a frustrated manner, as the other party may become defensive and have their feelings hurt. Let them know you care and are concerned about their health.
3. Don’t assume they aren’t aware. It is THEIR hearing after all, so chances are, they know it has decreased over time.
4. Use “I” when speaking to them. Do not sound accusatory or make them feel as if this is their fault. Make it seem as if you are asking them to get help rather than telling them to do so. Many are willing to seek help once they know their issue is concerning/affecting loved ones.
5. Show empathy and support. Let them know you understand and that your concerns are coming from a caring place. Let them express their thoughts and opinions on the matter rather than give an ultimatum or seem demanding of them to seek medical attention. While some may be quick to act, others may need a support system to help them get through this particular chapter in their lives. Let them know you will be there for them and will help in any way you can as they adjust to this new way of life.
6. Do some research and present to them the benefits of having hearing aids. Don’t make them seem scary or like they are a downside to “aging” or living in general. Hearing aids are common for many of all ages and there is a wide variety of styles and options available. Present to them how their quality of life will improve with hearing aids, such as hearing other family members talk more clearly in person or hearing alerts from your home security system.
7. State how prolonged hearing loss can lead to other issues. However, do not use this as a scare tactic. Mention that hearing loss will only worsen as time passes if help isn’t received and can lead to issues such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and dementia.
8. Volunteer to go with them and have your own hearing checked. While it doesn’t hurt having your own hearing checked, showing up to an appointment with a loved one can help them feel as if they aren’t alone in the process.