The impact of a hearing loss is a far greater reality than most people realize. Untreated hearing loss can negatively impact our relationships with loved ones by increasing frustration and tension, while decreasing communication, and shared activities such as TV, etc.
Those with hearing loss often become a spectator in group conversations and they don’t always see the connection between their hearing difficulty and declining social life. Most well-meaning loved ones don’t completely understand what they’re going through either and feel that they can choose to be “selective” about what they hear.
How can you encourage a loved one to seek help for their hearing loss?
- Have an honest discussion about how you see their hearing difficulty affecting their ability to enjoy social situations. Give examples of when and how they are missing out. They are usually not aware of how much they are missing. They can also be incorrectly perceived as unhappy or rude when they aren’t even aware someone is speaking to them.
- Schedule appointments to have hearing evaluations together. Most adults have not had a hearing exam since they were in school, so a baseline evaluation is never a bad idea. It’s also helpful to have another person hear what the audiologist has to say.
- Explain that while they may have a concern about others noticing hearing aids, consistently missing conversations is not going unnoticed either.
- Explain that outcomes are more successful the sooner a loss is treated because their brain has not had the opportunity to forget how to discriminate the different sounds of speech.
- Let them know that you are willing to learn alongside them using communication strategies taught by your audiologist to make communication easier for both of you.
Better hearing improves communication in relationships. If hearing loss is making communication difficult, seek out the help of an audiologist today!