At the heart of all of our relationships is a healthy channel of communication. For people whose loved ones may be experiencing a hearing loss, the breakdown in communication could lead to many frustrations and rifts in a relationship. The problem is, we may not know that hearing loss is the culprit. It may just seem like our spouse or partner is just not listening to us. It might seem like our parent is just being absent-minded or preoccupied.
In order to address hearing loss, we must first acknowledge the signs of hearing loss. Does your loved one turn up the volume way too high on the TV or radio? Are they always asking you to repeat yourself? Do they seem withdrawn or distant lately? These are just a few signs of hearing loss.
If you suspect a loved one may have a hearing loss, you may want to bring it up to them. This may be a difficult conversation, as there are many different age-related taboos surrounding hearing loss. The truth is, hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the US, affecting nearly 48 million people. Moreover, it is a condition that affects people of all ages.
It is important to seek treatment for hearing loss. If you are concerned and want your loved one to take action, here are a few tips on encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test.
Do Your Research
There is a wealth of information online about hearing loss. Over the decades, there have been countless studies about how untreated hearing loss radiates to all areas of one’s life: employment, mental health, physical health, and of course, interpersonal relationships. Studies from Johns Hopkins have found that untreated hearing loss affects your cognitive abilities and could increase the risk for developing dementia. Other studies show how untreated hearing loss could lead to lower earning power in the workplace and a higher risk for falls and accidents and hospitalizations.
Get familiar with the ins and outs of hearing loss, and have some evidence to back up your statements when you sit down with your loved one.
Choose the Right Time & the Right Place
It’s important to keep in mind that hearing loss affects speech recognition abilities. This is why communication is a challenge with untreated hearing loss. For this reason, you’ll want to choose a time and a place that is quiet. Avoid going to a busy café or restaurant during a meal rush to have this conversation. It will be difficult for your loved one to hear what you’re saying. Avoid playing background music as well.
When in conversation, sit so that you are facing your loved one. Make sure the room is well-lit. When accommodating hearing loss, people begin to use facial expressions and lip reading as a way to make sense of what’s being said.
Discuss Your Own Experiences with Your Loved One
Indeed, this is a sensitive topic, and for this reason, you want to avoid making your loved one feel as though they are on the defensive. Rather than pouring all of your frustrations on them, discuss your experiences with them that have been challenging for you. Point to specific examples, if possible, i.e. “Remember this past Christmas at the dinner table?” Use “I” statements rather than things like “You always do this.”
Chances are, your loved one already is aware that something has changed. Give them an opportunity to discuss their fears and frustrations with the changes in their hearing. Ask open-ended questions about their experience and how they’ve been adjusting. Allow them to talk uninterrupted.
Offer Your Support and Encourage Them to Take a Hearing Test
Hearing loss can be an isolating experience. More than likely, your loved one will appreciate your care and concern for their well-being, as well as for valuing your relationship with one another Offer your loved one support on their journey to better hearing health.
The first step on this journey is to schedule a hearing test. Hearing tests provide comprehensive information on one’s hearing abilities and indicates whether a hearing loss is present. Hearing Health at Home is a mobile hearing service, which means you don’t even need to leave your own home to take a hearing test. We bring the hearing test right to your door.
To schedule a hearing test and consultation with at Hearing Health at Home, contact us today.