If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you suspect hearing loss in someone you love. As one of our five senses, hearing is an incredibly important part of living an active, full life; it allows us to converse with others, experience music, understand emotion, and take part in life in a meaningful way. Hearing loss can even put our loved ones in danger as they lose the ability to hearing warning signals like car horns, smoke alarms, and sirens. At Academy Hearing Centres, we understand that it can be difficult to know how we should talk to our loved ones about their hearing loss, but we’re here to help.
For many, hearing loss comes on gradually, so they don’t realize that they have a problem with their hearing in the first place. Trying to explain your suspicious can become more complicated than you expect, so it is important that you be patient and have a list of examples prepared to help you make your case.
When you talk about “their” problem, you increase the likelihood that your loved one will go on the defensive. Instead, try to make the conversation about you and the impact on your life and relationship. Use of the word “I” if encouraged and helps to get across the feeling that the problem isn’t just theirs. For example, you may say “I get frustrated when I have to repeat things” or “I feel bad when I am laughing with everyone and then realize that you didn’t hear what was said”.
Most people associate hearing loss with old age and their own mortality, so opening up a conversation about it can bring up feelings of fear and denial. It is important to stress the improved quality of life that hearing aids can bring your loved one and emphasize that their hearing loss is not an indication of their value as a person.
First off, hearing aids aren’t what they used to be! With the incredible advances in technology, hearing aids are smaller and better than ever. Some hearing aid wearers are even able to hear better than normal in some situations! If vanity is your loved one’s primary concern when it comes to correcting hearing loss, help them to understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of and there are great options available.
Hearing aids aren’t a negative, they are actually very positive. Not only do they increase quality of life but studies have shown that hearing correction can help reduce depression, feelings of isolation, and can even improve job performance and your salary. Hearing correction may even help to ward off dementia and brain atrophy!
While it can be tempting to bring up this conversation when you are frustrated that you’ve just had to repeat yourself 3 times, it is important that you be more considered. Choose a specific time to have the hearing loss conversation so that you aren’t irritated and your loved one knows that this has been a thought out plan and doesn’t feel attacked. You should also choose a safe, quiet place where you both feel comfortable and have the time and privacy you need.
It is amazing what happens when we leave space for others to speak. There’s a very good chance that your loved one already knows, deep down, that they have hearing problems. Do your best to listen, don’t interrupt, and be the person that your loved one can confide in.
It may take some time before your loved one is ready to take the next step and, when they are ready, the team at Academy Hearing Centres in Calgary will be ready to help. We offer hearing tests, support, and wide range of hearing aid options to suit any lifestyle, so you can trust that your loved one is in the best hands.