Perhaps you’ve noticed small signs that a family member is hard of hearing, like asking you to repeat yourself multiple times. It’s never easy to talk about health problems, particularly with relatives who are getting older. But how should you approach a loved one who is showing signs of hearing loss?Signs of Hearing LossDoes your loved one:Say “what?” “excuse me,” or ask people to talk more slowly several times in a conversation?Miss what people say if his/her back is turned?Listen to the TV or radio at maximum volume?Have trouble hearing in loud public places, like restaurants?Have problems hearing the doorbell or phone ring?Misunderstand directions (or make similar mistakes)?”Forget” something you said?Lean toward a person who is speaking? If these symptoms sound familiar, your loved one might have untreated hearing loss, which can lead to behavioral changes and psychological consequences, like isolation and depression. Your loved one might even feel ashamed, causing him or her to withdraw from social situations.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss with a Loved OneWhen approaching a relative with hearing loss, your goal is to be supportive and helpful. Let your loved one know that you are concerned that he or she is missing out on things, and it doesn’t have to be that way.Avoid threats or accusations, and stay positive.
Your loved one might not be aware of the problem, or may be sensitive to the thought of being “old.” So, it’s best to approach your relative alone and in a calm, quiet setting.Encourage your loved one to get a hearing evaluation. If your relative doesn’t have signs of hearing loss after the test, you’ll both have peace of mind. But if hearing loss is present, your audiologist can help your relative see the difference a hearing aid can make.The more you know about hearing loss, the better you can help your relative on his or her path to healthy hearing.
For more information about hearing health, or for more tips on having “the talk” with a loved one, contact Universal Hearing Care in Tarzana, CA, at 818-578-4562.