When a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, it’s normal to want to do everything in your power to help. We focus on speaking louder and more clearly, being a good interpreter for them when others speak, and improving our patience and repeating ourselves when needed. However, these good deeds and well intentioned efforts can be counterproductive in helping our loved ones to seek help. It may cause them to not make an appointment with an audiologist or prolong the amount of time it takes them to speak with hearing aid providers.
This is all because many people with hearing loss do not recognize the magnitude of their problem or how much communication they are missing without the full use of their ears. However, without your help, they will quickly notice how much of their daily life they are missing. It can be the push they need to become inspired to fix the problem and seek out treatment options.
Here are some practical tips you can use recommended from Dr. Nikki to help your loved one make an appointment at Active Hearing Health.
1. Be truthful
The first step is to be truthful with your loved one. Tell them that they have a hearing loss problem and detail how it is affecting them, your relationship with them, and yourself in general. Speak from the heart and not from anger. Tell them you think it would be beneficial to get a hearing test performed and see what their options are from local hearing aid providers.
2. Indicate you are repeating yourself for them
It is likely they don’t realize how much you are helping them get by because they are unaware of how much you have to repeat yourself. One helpful tip can be to establish an identifier that communicates when you are repeating yourself. Something like saying “Hearing helper says” before repeating something can establish a connection that shows how often you need to repeat things for your loved one.
3. Show them what you mean
This can be difficult, as none of us wants to offend or hurt the people we love, but if they are in deep denial about their hearing loss you may have to go the route of short term tough love and show them how you see them struggle. One way is to video them at a family gathering and at a later time privately play the video for them. Show them how many times things have to be repeated or they said, “What did you say?”
Another tough love step is to tell them you are not going to interpret for them at one event or even just one phone call so they can see for themselves how they struggle without your help. Telephone calls are notoriously hard for people with hearing loss so this may be an easier one to try. Allow them to struggle and recognize on their own how much help they really need.
4. Limit their volume increases
If you notice that they have the T.V. or radio volume up way too loud, turn it back down. If they complain and try to raise it back up, tell them that it’s too loud for you and hurts your ears. Inform them about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss. If they are unable to hear or enjoy their favorite forms of entertainment, they might feel encouraged to seek help and visit with hearing aid providers.
5. Encourage them to take action
Remind them you are aware that hearing loss is treatable. The first step is a hearing test; however, agreeing to a hearing test does not mean they are agreeing to give up control of their problems. A hearing test simply indicates they want to take control by getting educated on their options. Ask your loved one to make the choice to at least get the test and even offer to come with them to ease their potential anxiety or fear about the process.
Dr. Nikki is a top rated audiologist in Omaha, Nebraska and one of the best hearing aid providers around! She can help your loved one find the perfect hearing aid for their lifestyle and budget. Contact us to learn more.