Has your loved one recently had a hearing loss diagnosis? Or perhaps you’re concerned that they are struggling to hear, but keep putting off speaking to them about it? Either way, it can be a difficult time for all involved. If you are unsure how to address the issue without causing any upset, we have compiled some tips that may help.
Choose a Time and Place
As this is a sensitive issue, the conversation is best planned ahead of time and held in a private, relaxing and quiet place. If you can, avoid sitting with bright light behind you as this makes lip reading more difficult.
Allow plenty of time to talk and get into an understanding frame of mind. Consider how you may feel if the tables were turned. Ensure that you are approaching the conversation from a place of caring, this will help the other party avoid a defensive reaction.
Try to Be Positive and Supportive
Rather than saying “I think you need your hearing checked”, why not try “I noticed recently your TV was on very loud, I was wondering if you might be having trouble hearing?” Ask about any difficulties they may have noticed, perhaps they’ve been struggling with background noise? Actively listen, it may help them see the situation more clearly. Offer to help them find professional advice and solutions, and offer to attend any appointments with them.
Think about how you talk
Do not shout, or talk directly into their ear. Instead, speak clearly in a normal voice toward their face, so that they can see your lips. Make plenty of eye contact and offer encouragement. If they don’t understand you, try to rephrase what you said instead of repeating it. If they still aren’t clear, ask them to repeat back what they did hear and go from there.
Give Them Reasons to Face the Problem
Let them know that this is not just ‘their’ problem, they are very much vital to the group dynamic. Without making them feel guilty, mention that you worry that they are less able to enjoy things lately, such as going out for meals or playing with the younger family members. Remind them of the things they can enjoy to the fullest with improved hearing.
Not Just Hearing Aids
If your loved one is open to further discussion, you could inform them it’s not only about hearing aids; there are community support groups, yoga classes, nutrition advice, and more. Advise them how common hearing loss is, show them how hearing aids have advanced so much that they are barely visible anymore. If you know someone with first hand experience of hearing loss treatment you could offer to arrange a chat with them.
It may take time and a few conversations before your loved one accepts their hearing loss. In any conversation, only discuss as much as they seem willing to take on board at the time. They may feel like the hearing loss is a sign that their best days are passed, or they feel their symptoms aren’t serious enough. Your goal here is to repeatedly offer support, love and awareness of the help available which can enable a more full hearing world.
Rest assured, we understand how difficult it can be for your loved one to ask for professional help and to accept a hearing loss. Our trained team offer patient centered care, so you can count on us to offer a comfortable atmosphere and tailored results. Call us on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment today.