Hearing loss can be difficult to navigate. It can promote feelings of isolation and depression and lead to agitation. Individuals experiencing hearing loss may deny that they have a problem at all. Or, the symptoms can come on so slowly that they don’t even notice they’re struggling. Follow these tips to help your loved one through this transition, from being mindful in the conversations you have with them to encouraging them to get hearing aids.
Adapt your Communication Style
There are a bunch of strategies you can implement to make communication easier between you and a loved one with hearing loss. First and foremost, you must be patient and try to avoid feelings of frustration. Face the person when you talk to them, start the conversation by saying their name first, and speak slowly and clearly. You don’t need to shout. Be sure you hold the conversation in the same room as them and limit background noise. Be aware of your body language and how it can help communicate what you’re saying.
Encourage them to Visit an Audiologist
If the signs you’re noticing in your loved one are becoming worse of more frequent, gently nudging them to visit an audiologist for a hearing test should be your next step. Volunteer to go with them and get a hearing test, too. Hearing health is important for everyone, after all. You could also encourage them to take an online hearing test.
Steer Them Toward Hearing Aids
Hearing loss can provide a huge barrier to communication. Encourage your loved ones in the right direction by pointing them to hearing aids. Discuss their concerns and tell them about the success stories. People can put up a fight when they’re told they need hearing aids because they feel old or they feel ashamed about needing extra help, but they make a world of difference. And there are plenty of hearing aid options that are discreet in the wearer’s ears.
Attend a Support Group
There is definitely hearing aid stigma, and your loved one may feel shameful about needing hearing aids already. Search for hearing aid support groups in your area and offer to attend the first few meetings with your loved one until they feel comfortable attending alone. A support group can not only provide the support they need from individuals experiencing the same thing, but it can give them tips for living with hearing loss.
To check out more patient resources for hearing health, visit our blog.