Attempting to talk to a loved one about their hearing loss can be a difficult task. While it may be obvious that a loved one is suffering, and should get hearing help, research shows that, on average, hearing aid wearers wait over 10 years after their initial diagnosis to be fit with their first set of hearing aids.
Holidays like Thanksgiving present a good opportunity to discuss a family member’s hearing loss in a supportive, positive atmosphere.
“Holiday gatherings can be particularly problematic for people with untreated hearing loss, as many loud voices, background music and noise can make it difficult to follow, participate in and feel a part of conversations and celebrations,” says Dr. Sara Burdak, Vice President of Education and Audiology at Starkey Hearing Technologies.
Burdak offers four helpful tips on talking to your loved ones about hearing loss:
Choose the Right Time
Set the stage for a successful talk. Choose a quiet moment in a location that is comfortable and familiar to the person with hearing loss. Minimize background noises that might make it difficult for him or her to hear and understand what you’re saying. Don’t raise your voice, but speak slowly and clearly, and make sure to face your loved one so he or she can clearly follow the movement of your lips.
Keep your language compassionate, not accusatory. For example, rather than saying “you can’t hear me when I talk,” try “I’m concerned by how often you ask people to repeat themselves.” Because hearing loss is commonly perceived as an older person’s problem, talking about it can be emotional for people, and your loved one may feel that admitting to hearing loss is like admitting to becoming old and frail.
Focus on the benefits of treatment and be specific. Instead of just saying “you’ll hear better,” provide real-life examples, such as “you’ll be able to hear your grandson sing in church” or “when Uncle Bill tells that joke you love, you’ll be able to hear every word.” Also explain how hearing loss can lead to other health problems like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and more. Getting a hearing test is just the first step to their overall well-being.
Offer to Schedule and Attend a Hearing Consultation with Them
We know the holidays can be a tough time for someone who is struggling to hear, but with the support from their loved ones, it doesn’t have to be. You can even offer to have your hearing tested with them! Just remind them that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeing a hearing professional. Contact a local NuEar professional today to schedule a hearing consultation!
“Hearing loss doesn’t have to dim the holidays for anyone, thanks to modern hearing aid technology,” Burdak says. “Once you start the conversation and get your loved one help, you’ll both be able to better enjoy the spirit of the season.”