There’s no doubt that hearing loss has ramifications on people other than just the person suffering from hearing loss. And wanting to talk to them about their hearing loss is natural, but can be quite a confrontational scenario.
During the Christmas season we are often surrounded by our family and loved ones, and tensions can rise due to hearing loss (missed punchlines, misheard comments leading to hurt feelings, constantly having to repeat yourself etc) and it can be tempting to raise the issue there and then.
But when it comes to tackling hearing loss in other people, it pays to plan.
Christmas lunch is not the right time to tell someone you think they are deaf! Much better would be to choose a quiet moment after lunch or any quiet moment when it’s more private and you have an opportunity to sit down and have a one to one discussion.
Usually the sufferer will already know deep down they have hearing loss. But they may not realise how it’s affecting the people around them. Talk to them about the things you have noticed—a louder TV or radio, missed points in a conversation, misheard words or sentences. Once they realise their loss is affecting other people and they are noticing it, they are more likely to want to seek treatment.
Plan it. Have a cup of tea ready or something that you can use to break the tension a bit if it arises and it might. Be prepared for them to go on the defensive. Be patient and compassionate and listen to them while calmly discussing your observations.
While there are many negatives in leaving hearing loss untreated it is often best to focus on the positives of treating hearing loss initially in these instances. And if you can personalise those benefits, even better. They may be able to better hear their grandkids, a favourite TV show, the theatre or anything else they take joy in, or used to take joy in.
One of the biggest stigmas around hearing loss is the wearing of hearing aids. In the past hearing aids used to be big, bulky beige things that protruded from the back of the ear. No longer. Now we have tiny in the ear options and even behind the ear options so small family members have missed it completely when people start wearing hearing aids.
The process of getting help for hearing loss can be quite nerve wracking. Offer your support throughout the process—including going to any assessments. Having someone there they trust at the assessment and discussion of hearing treatment options will help them fell more comfortable. It will also provide them with someone they can discuss their options with after the appointment.
The best time to treat hearing loss is always now. Talk to Clarity or your audiologist about your hearing loss treatment options.
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