We always appreciate being asked how to help loved ones seek help for their hearing loss, and we agree, it’s hard sometimes to help a person with a hearing loss admit they need help, let alone then get that help.
I’ve helped thousands of Texans hear better, so I’ve seen what can help and what hinders them from seeking help. Here are some tips to help you to encourage and support your loved one on their journey.
Reasons For A Loved One’s Delay In Seeking Hearing Treatment
Avoiding responsibility – I think people wait to treat their hearing loss because they don’t want to admit that they have a problem and because admitting it and confirming it means they must do something about it.
Not wanting to seem old – For far too long, people have associated hearing loss with old age, but that is definitely not true. We live in a very noisy world and have some very noisy hobbies that put every age group at risk for hearing loss.
Technology – Hearing aids have had a bad reputation in the past because many people complained that they did not work. This may have been true if the technology was not available to address the most common types of hearing loss at that time.
Most people who wear hearing aids for the first time are pleasantly surprised with their experience and wish they hadn’t waited so long.
Cost – Some people are concerned about the cost and worry whether hearing aids will even help after the big investment.
The First Signs Of Hearing Loss
If you are the one with a hearing loss, the people who spend the most time with you, either family or friends, are typically the first ones who first notice you have a hearing loss. This is because you have no idea you missed something you couldn’t hear in the first place.
- Those closest to you notice that they have to repeat themselves or that you respond inappropriately during conversations.
- They notice that the TV is too loud, or that your whisper is really not a whisper, or that you’re using the phone on speaker in order to get a louder volume.
- Yes, people around you get tired of repeating everything and telling you things they thought you heard only to find out you never knew they said them.
- You get tired of missing out on life. You get frustrated when you get told “never mind” by the person who got tired of repeating themselves.
Those around you are concerned for your safety or that you will agree to something you should not because you misheard.
Other signs are depression, withdrawal from social situations, withdrawal from group conversations, and insisting on quiet dinners with just one other person at restaurants because you can’t hear conversations with all the background noise.
Some people come in to prove their loved ones wrong because they do not feel they have a problem at all. And sometimes they don’t, or sometimes it’s a simple fix like wax removal or clearing up an ear infection.
How To Give The Best Hearing Care Support
The best kind of hearing care support includes education, compassion, and physical support.
1. Educate Yourself
Your only chance of being listened to is if you know what you’re talking about, so it’s worthwhile to do your homework.
- Find out the signs of hearing loss (see above).
- Learn some of the causes of hearing loss such as excessive wax buildup, loud noise exposure, illness, heredity, medication, and age. Look at comorbidities of hearing loss.
- Learn the benefits of treating hearing loss.
You can always call, text, or email us with specific questions.
2. Avoid Upsetting Them
This is so dependent on the person with the hearing loss and your family culture.
Loved ones typically know the best way to approach each other, whether it’s based on medical needs, concerns for their safety, or concerns that they are missing precious moments with the family.
Let them know you are asking them because you love them, and you need to know they are okay. Ask them if they would get their hearing checked because they love you and can fix something that is fixable.
3. Offer Physical And Emotional Support
- You can often become a confidant for the person with a hearing loss because you spend the most time with them and know when they are not understanding a situation clearly or when they just did not hear something.
- The person with the hearing loss feels comfortable telling you when they are having trouble in certain situations. You learn how to become the “interpreter.”
- You can also become the cheerleader, the motivator, the encourager, the trouble-shooter.
Offer to go with them to their hearing appointment. Two people can always remember information better than one. Two people can give a better history about the hearing loss.
Additionally, if we do find a hearing loss and we do a hearing aid demonstration, it is important to know how they are hearing a familiar voice.
The hearing loss impacts the entire family, and I feel that we have a wealth of information to impart to those who come to us. Although it may seem like only a conversation, we all walk away with the knowledge needed to make sure that the hearing loss is not a negative.
Where To Start
If you’re not near Hear in Texas in the New Braunfels area, ask for recommendations from friends or family who have already gone through the process successfully, and research the professionals around you to see who seems to be the best fit.
Find someone who cares. I feel that my specialty lies with really getting to know the patients and their needs.
Sure, any professional can fit a hearing aid, but do they listen to you and help you find ways to maximize your hearing?
I’ve helped thousands of people hear better over the years, and when most of my patients hear again for the first time, they start crying because they realize how much they’ve missed.
If you or a loved one is ready to treat their hearing loss, book a hearing test as the first step. And know you can always call, text, or email us with questions. We look forward to helping your loved one come back to the world of good hearing again.