Have you noticed that one of your loved ones is struggling to hear and communicate? This realization can be difficult to process, and you might even hope that the issue was due to a noisy environment or other aspect of the situation. If you notice your loved one asking you to repeat yourself or speak up time and again, the issue might be hearing loss. If you have noticed signs of hearing loss, you are faced with a need to talk to your loved one about this possibility. How can you engage in this conversation? Are there steps you can take to help your loved one take action? The following are some helpful tips for talking to your loved one about hearing loss treatment. When the time comes to have this talk, you can keep these tips in mind to set yourself up for success. If the first attempt at a conversation isn’t successful, you can always open up the conversation again in the future.
The most important tip to keep in mind when it comes to talking with your loved one about hearing loss treatment is to engage in active listening. When you have this conversation, your role is actually quite simple. You will need to ask your loved one to talk about their experiences with hearing. Your question can be as simple as, “Have you had any trouble hearing lately?” Once you have opened up the conversation, your role is to listen carefully to what they have to say. Rather than jumping ahead to encourage a hearing test or telling them they need to get hearing aids, simply listen to what they have to say. Make sure to give your loved one your full attention, looking at them and making it clear that you are concerned. Nodding in assent and asking follow-up questions are great ways to show that you are actually concerned with hearing their experience rather than pushing them to take action.
Setting the Stage
Although active listening is the most important tip for your conversation, there are a few steps you can take to make the conversation easier and more comfortable. Particularly for a person who might be facing hearing loss, it will be important to find a quiet time and place for the conversation. Rather than asking while you are out taking care of errands or riding in the car, try to find a moment at home when things are quiet to have the conversation. If you notice that your loved one is already agitated about something, that is probably not the right time for the conversation. For instance, if you have just had a conversation that went poorly or your loved one is frustrated by the struggle to hear, then that moment could be a poor opportunity to talk. Instead, wait until things are calm and the heated emotions have dissipated. You can even refer back to that moment and ask if everything was alright.
If you have this conversation and your loved one discloses that hearing has been an issue, you will want to be prepared with resources to start on the path toward treatment for hearing loss. You don’t need to know everything about the process or the different types of hearing aids out there. All you really need to do is be ready to make an appointment for a hearing test. When you have the conversation, you can even call to make an appointment on the spot. If you have some background knowledge about hearing aids, some useful features, and the prevalence of hearing loss, those facts can be useful in your conversation, if your loved one initiates questions. However, our hearing health professionals are here with all the resources you will need to connect your loved one with treatment. Getting a hearing test is the crucial first piece of the puzzle, and the diagnosis will make clear not only the details of your loved one’s hearing ability but also the right hearing aids to meet their individual needs. When you take time and thoughtfully listen to your loved one talk about hearing loss, you will be ready to help when the time comes.