When people are faced with hearing loss, they can often become defensive when someone brings it up. They might not want to admit that their hearing is changing. Even though you are coming from a good place when you bring up your concerns, the conversation around hearing loss can be a difficult one to have with a loved one. There are ways to help guide the conversation and push your loved one to begin thinking about their hearing loss and what can be done to help it.
Asking the right questions
“Do you hear but not understand the words?” This is one of the most impactful questions that you can ask someone who is likely experiencing hearing loss. By asking this question, you are showing that you understand what they might be going through on some level. The phrasing of this also comes across as more understanding and softer than “Are you not able to hear what I am saying?”.
If you notice them struggling to hear in specific situations, ask them about it! Most commonly, people struggle to hear when they are in group settings. It can be difficult for our brains to filter through all the different surrounding sounds and pick out what the person we are speaking to is saying. By asking them about this, it can prompt them to begin thinking about hearing loss and what it might look like for them.
Paying attention to their reaction
Just like any other conversation you have with someone, it is important to pay attention to their reaction. Their physical and emotional reactions will help guide you toward your next action. Are they concerned about their hearing loss, but they’re scared? Do they brush off your concerns and show no sign of wanting to receive a hearing assessment? Whatever their response may be, listen to them and show them that you care. People need to feel like their feelings are being validated, not ignored.
Show them examples
Have you ever tried to show someone that an electronic won’t work but they don’t believe you? So, to prove that it is not working, you plug it into every socket you can think of and try to turn it on with each attempt having the same result. Sometimes people don’t believe that something needs to be fixed until you prove it to them. This can also be the case with hearing loss. Rather than simply telling someone they might have hearing loss, provide them with reasons why you think this is true.
One good example is the TV volume. Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve gradually increased the standard level that they keep the volume at. If you know that they used to be able to listen to their shows at a particular volume but have now had to increase that volume by 10+ settings, then this is a useful example. Another way to push them to start thinking about their hearing health is to tell them if the volume level they must listen at is uncomfortable for you. If they know that the people close to them believe that the volume level is too loud, then they may start to believe it.
Providing solutions to their hearing loss can make your loved one feel more secure. They’ll know that you truly want to help them and won’t leave them to figure everything out on their own. Look up different audiology practices in your area. Do some research on the different types of hearing loss. Write down the different features a hearing aid can have. This allows you to have a conversation with your loved ones beyond telling them that they need to get their hearing checked. You can also research what their first appointment might look like! By knowing what they would be walking into, they might be more open-minded about seeking a solution to their hearing loss.
Another solution could be to have them take our online hearing assessment. This provides them with a way of testing their hearing without the added pressure of going into an office. Offering to go with them to their appointment or even scheduling an appointment for yourself is another way you can make your loved one feel more comfortable. If they know that they are not going to be walking into the office alone, they might feel more secure in going.