Encouraging a Loved One to Seek Hearing Help
Do you have a family member who won’t accept the fact they need hearing assistance? Learn how to encourage them to get help for their hearing and more.
When your spouse, parents, or friends are experiencing hearing trouble, it could be you who experiences much of the stress. Many people with hearing loss are content to let their hearing fade for many years before seeking help. However, dealing with a loved one’s hearing loss can test your patience and make normal life difficult. It might be time to start encouraging your loved one to seek help for their hearing.
WHY TREATING HEARING LOSS IS IMPORTANT
Hearing loss is relatively common, especially in older adults. The CDC estimates that about 15% of the US adult population suffers from some form of hearing loss. However, less than 30% of hearing loss sufferers have ever used a hearing aid or sought help for their hearing. In other words, millions of people with untreated hearing impairments live in the US alone.
This is bad for several reasons, as untreated hearing loss has many negative side effects. Even gradual hearing loss can cause major mental and physiological problems. A few of the most common are:
- Mood change and irritability
- Loss of memory
- Increased risk of dementia
- Loss of balance and increased risk of vertigo
Fortunately, seeking treatment can significantly reduce or eliminate these risks. People who have sought hearing treatment report thinking more clearly, feeling happier and more energetic, and being more engaged with their loved ones and families.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE SOMEONE TO GET HELP
If you’re not sure how to talk to your family member about their hearing loss, there are a few strategies you can use to help the conversation go well.
First, you should talk about how their hearing loss affects your relationship with them. Many people find being the “hearing” member of the relationship stressful and tiring. If you can describe how their hearing loss makes you feel or show them what effects it’s having on you, it might help convince them they should seek help.
Another good tactic is to point out examples of what they aren’t hearing when you’re together. For instance, if you’re watching a movie, having a conversation or even just walking outside, point out what you can hear and ask if they can hear it too. Don’t be obnoxious or pushy with this tactic, though. Doing it too often or too condescendingly can make your loved one pull back or create resentment. Instead, simply point out things you think they’d enjoy hearing to help push them in the right direction.
Along with point out examples of what they’re missing, it also helps to step away from the role of being the “ears” in your relationship. Many people with hearing impairment expect their significant others to pick up the slack from their hearing loss. By moving away from that role, you can show your loved one how much they actually rely on outside help in order to hear and understand. Even a simple change, such as pointing out directly when you’re helping them hear something, can make your point clear.
Finally, it helps to reassure their concerns about getting a hearing aid or other hearing treatment. Many people avoid getting hearing aids because of vanity or because they think they can still hear well enough. Talk with them about what they’re missing, and reassure them that a hearing aid won’t be a negative. In fact, hearing aids will help them be sharper and more engaged in life than if they didn’t wear them.
THINGS YOU SHOULD AVOID SAYING OR DOING
Along with the above encouragements, you should also avoid doing anything that might make your loved one more defensive about their hearing.
One of the most common mistakes people make is getting angry or blaming their partner when they refuse to get hearing help. Unfortunately, placing blame is only going to make them less likely to seek help. Most people need some support to make a change in their life they’re not sure about. An argument will instead make them feel like your adversary.
Another common mistake is to try to use the features and selling points of hearing aids to convince someone to try them. And while features like Bluetooth connectivity, easy cleaning and multi-channel sound are great, they often aren’t enough to make someone come in for a hearing test. Most people don’t care about features for a device they think they don’t need. Instead, try to convince them that a hearing aid will be a personal benefit. For instance, focus on how it will improve their relationships or mood.
Finally, don’t enable your loved one to keep living without a hearing aid. It’s not helpful to change your behavior to be more accommodating to someone with hearing loss. A better course of action is to behave like normal and let them realize their hearing problem is their issue, not everyone else’s.
WHERE TO GO FOR HEARING HELP
If you’re not sure where to go for hearing help, you should seek out a licensed audiologist like the ones at Audio Recovery. An audiologist has the training and experience to diagnose a wide range of hearing problems and recommend the right solutions. An audiologist will deliver the best service and care for your hearing problems every time.