Although hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, it is often left untreated. This is due to the fact that it is considered an invisible condition, and as a result, people experiencing it tend to make listening adjustments while engaged in conversation. The consequences of untreated hearing loss are costly as it leads to not only functional impacts of communication, but also social, emotional, and other health impacts such as social isolation, depression, and even dementia. Overtime, untreated hearing loss can lead to rifts in once close knit relationships and even challenges and troubles at the workplace.
If you have recently noticed a loved one exhibiting the signs of hearing loss– turning up the volume high on the TV and phone and radio; asking you to repeat yourself often; avoiding social gatherings and interactions – you may want to bring up the issue with your loved one and encourage them to seek out treatment. Although hearing loss can be a sensitive topic, taking that first step in addressing it with your loved one is crucial in improving their hearing loss. Here are some tips for encouraging your love one to take a hearing test.
DO YOUR RESEARCH ON HEARING LOSS
Before stepping up to the plate and taking a swing at having that conversation about hearing loss with your loved one, do your research first. Learning the facts about hearing loss will give you the necessary tools to have a much more constructive conversation. Both the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) provide information on signs of hearing loss, the consequences of leaving hearing loss untreated, and the different types and causes of hearing loss. This type of knowledge will be greatly helpful in approaching how you have that conversation with your loved one.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PICKING A QUIET TIME AND PLACE
The sensitivity of talking about hearing loss with a loved one means choosing the right time and place is crucial. Those facing hearing loss may be hesitant to initially engage in such a conversation, so picking a quiet and isolated place is preferred. It’s best to have the conversation one-on-one conversation as opposed to a large group setting, as a group setting may feel too much like an intervention. Be sure to find a place that is quiet as to respect the hearing ability of your loved one. Being in overly noisy places only makes the conversation even harder for the person you’re trying to engage with.
USE “I” STATEMENTS INSTEAD OF “YOU” STATEMENTS
Approaching the conversations with “you” statements may push the person you’re trying to engage away further. Instead of using statements like “You are never listening” or “You are always asking me to repeat myself,” trying reframing the conversation by using “I” statements to allow the listener to see it from your point of view. You may want to try saying something like, “I’ve noticed that when we’re talking, I find that I must repeat myself often.” Framing this from a point of concern that you have takes a little bit of the pressure off of your loved one, who may already be feeling sensitive about the topic.
LISTEN ACTIVELY AND ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
After you’ve shared your viewpoints and concerns about your loved one’s hearing loss, allow them the platform to speak their mind and share their thoughts. More likely than not, your loved one has already noticed the changes in their own hearing ability, but is worries or anxious about seeking treatment. Listen actively to what they share and ask open ended questions to further engage with them on this important conversation. You may find that approaching the conversation in this manner may be more constructive.
ENCOURAGE YOUR LOVED ONE TO TAKE A HEARING TEST
Even though many adults haven’t gotten a hearing test since our childhood years, it is a painless and quick procedure. The most positive thing about them is that they provide a great deal of information about one’s hearing abilities. If you’re able to reach the point in conversation with your loved one about seeking treatment, share with them the research you’ve conducted about the benefits of treating hearing loss and the positive outcomes. Share with them that the first step towards hearing health is by going through with a hearing test.
REACH OUT TO AUDIOLOGY ASSOCIATES OF REDDING TODAY
If your loved one is responsive and in agreement to possibly take a hearing test, offer them support on their journey towards better hearing health. To schedule a hearing test, reach out to us at Audiology Associates of Redding today. Our team is here to help you and your loved one with comprehensive hearing tests and hearing aid suggestions. Give us a call today to make an appointment!