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Is there a way I can help a loved one who has hearing loss?
Posted by Susan Brown Good, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology on December 02, 2019
We know that, left untreated, hearing loss can negatively affect our quality of life. Studies link untreated hearing loss to stress, depression, social isolation, and even dementia. Untreated hearing loss also increases the risk of falling, putting personal safety at risk.
But the person with hearing loss isn’t the only person affected by it. Hearing loss impacts spouses, family members, and friends. Repeating things over and over during conversation can be exhausting and frustrating. It can also be heartbreaking for family and friends to watch a loved one retreat, avoiding social situations they once enjoyed.
Don’t enable their denial
Encouraging a loved one to seek help for hearing loss is the right thing to do, even when it’s hard to know how to help. It’s important to speak with your loved one directly about their hearing loss. Gently remind them every time you need to repeat or rephrase parts of conversations they miss.
Without realizing it, well-intended ways we try to help can delay treatment. Repeating or rephrasing conversations may prevent our loved ones from realizing how much they are missing. Make sure your well-intended efforts aren’t preventing your loved one from realizing how hearing loss is impacting their life.
Schedule a hearing check-up for them
Offer to schedule and attend your loved one’s first appointment with a hearing professional. You could also offer to compile helpful information by visiting a few websites about hearing aids and hearing loss. Doing so will help your loved one feel at ease and prepared for their appointment.
Bring any questions you have with you to your appointment with your hearing professional. Your hearing professional will discuss the results of your loved ones hearing test, discuss the best treatment, and answer any other questions you may have.
The sooner they seek help, the happier everyone will be
Don’t be surprised if your loved one is hesitant to seek help for their hearing loss. Be gentle and consistent. On average, hearing aid wearers wait 5-7 years to seek treatment. Which means, your loved one is probably aware of their hearing problem, but might need a little push of encouragement and support to treat it.
Remind your loved one that they have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Being patient and supportive will help your loved one get the hearing help you will both benefit from.