July 25, 2022

Talking To A Loved One About Hearing Loss

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Talking To A Loved One About Hearing Loss

Have you gotten into spats with your spouse because of a simple misunderstanding? Has your parent asked you to repeat yourself multiple times, and it’s making you go nuts? Have you asked your best friend to turn the volume down multiple times while you’re watching a movie together?

All three of these scenarios may indicate that a hearing loss is present. If you’ve noticed some of these behaviors with your loved one, chances are they have, too. On average, it takes a person seven years from the time they recognize symptoms of hearing loss before they seek treatment.

Hearing loss is the third most common condition in the US, affecting 20% of Americans. For older Americans age 65 and older, one in three people experience some degree of hearing loss. Signs of hearing loss include difficulties in speech recognition and in hearing conversations in louder environments such as restaurants and bars, a tendency to turn up the volume on home entertainment systems, and a gradual withdrawal from one’s social life.

Given the number of health issues – both physical and emotional – related to untreated hearing loss, it is important to address hearing loss as early as possible. If your loved one needs a gentle nudge to get their hearing tested, we hope that you feel comfortable having a conversation with them and offer your support. Here are some tips for a productive conversation about hearing loss.

Do Your Research

There are many resources available online, from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) to WebMD. Check out the resources and information available online about hearing loss, related medical problems, and statistics.

Your loved one may feel a stigma around hearing loss and aging. With research and data, you’ll be able to show your loved one that hearing loss is one of the most common conditions facing Americans today.

Additionally, show your loved one proof of the benefits of treating hearing loss – from ensuring their income on the job to reducing the risk for dementia.

Pick the Right Time and Place

Hearing loss greatly affects our abilities to understand speech. When you prepare to talk with your loved one, take into account the time and place of this conversation. Because this may be a sensitive matter, perhaps you’ll want to find a place that is private, where you won’t be interrupted by other family members.

Also consider sound levels in the environment. A busy bar during happy hour may not be the best time to talk about hearing loss. Loud, public spaces or busy, stressful moments that are subject to interruption are not recommended for this conversation. It is important to find a calm place and an uninterrupted length of time to have the conversation.

Use “I” Statements

Addressing hearing loss may be a sensitive topic for your loved one, and you may have gotten frustrated in the past few months or years with the way you communicate with one another. It is important in this time to use statements pertaining to your experience. Try using “I” statements, rather than saying something like, “You always…”

By reframing your statements from your own point of view, then you are indicating to your loved one that their hearing loss is affecting you as well.

Listen and Ask Open-Ended Questions

After you’ve expressed your concerns to your loved one, give them time and space to talk. Chances are they have felt the same concerns, along with fear, frustration, and shame. Allow them the opportunity to express their feelings about their experience. Ask open-ended questions that will encourage them to talk and share, rather than yes or no questions. Try not to interrupt your loved one.

Discuss Next Steps and Offer Your Support

Encourage your loved one to take the first step to better hearing: taking a comprehensive hearing test. By taking a hearing test, your loved one will have clear information about their current hearing abilities and more solid ground to make a decision for treatment.

Hearing loss is most commonly treated with the prescription of hearing aids. There are many advanced, sophisticated hearing solutions available on the market today – from wireless hearing aids that connect to your smartphone to customizable tinnitus solutions. Hearing aids bring many benefits to people who experience hearing loss, from improving communication and interpersonal relationships to ensuring personal safety.

Remember to offer your support to your loved one. Remind them that you are by their side during this journey to better hearing. For more information on hearing tests, give us a call at Hearing Spa of Florida.


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