While hearing loss is an emotional subject, bringing up factual points can help avoid those emotional minefields. Bring up some of the specific symptoms you’ve noticed. Highlight some facts about how common hearing loss is, and how easy it could be to address. Be sure to position all this as an observation, rather than an accusation. After all, this conversation comes from love, not blame. ENCOURAGE A HEARING CHECK. Once you have stated your case, don’t rush to define a set diagnosis. This is where an evaluation from a professional comes into play. These evaluations are free, simple, and encouraged for anyone over 50 as part of their annual check-up. PRESSURE WILL NOT HELP If your loved one is displaying symptoms of hearing loss, there is a lot of additional emotional turmoil they may be experiencing. They might not be quite ready to take action, or need additional time to process. Encourage them to pay attention to their behaviour and see if they notice the same things you’re seeing. Give them some time to be a bit more aware and try having the conversation again in a few months. Hearing loss can be an emotional journey, and it often takes many years until a person is ready to take action. Taking a respectful approach to the touchy nature of the topic and offering sincere support can help shorten the process, and get our loved ones closer.
5 REMINDERS TO MAKE COMMUNICATION EASIER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS WITH HEARING LOSS • Sit facing your loved one, with excellent lighting to ensure they can read your lips. • Give the conversation the time it needs. Do not rush answers or try to answer for the other person speaking. • Try to find a quiet environment with minimal interruptions and background noise. • Before starting a sentence, make sure to look the other person in the eye and get their attention to allow for e‡ortless communication. • Remember to ask your loved one how they’d like you to communicate. By placing their communication wants first, you’ll be more likely to have a successful dialogue.
Early signs of hearing loss include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need
- difficulty hearing on the phone
- finding it hard to keep up with a conversation
- feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening