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Is their hearing loss bugging you?
Posted by Roseann B. Kiefer, BC-HIS on March 24, 2021
It can be difficult broach the subject of your loved ones hearing problems. Hearing loss can be frustrating; not just for the person with the hearing difficulties but also for their loved ones. Hearing loss is very personal. Many people who have a hearing loss are in denial. They may be defensive and become upset if you try to discuss their hearing ability with them.
When we lose our hearing, it effects our communication process. It effects our confidence. It plays with our memory... after all you can’t remember what you didn’t hear in the first place. It may not be the first topic that they really want to discuss with anyone. Denial is one of the main reasons that people avoid the conversation. Denial comes from a lack of understanding the extent of their hearing loss, cost of treatment, a fear that they are growing old, and of course the appearance of hearing aids.
To help you discuss your loved ones hearing loss and persuade them to take action, try these tips. Ask you hearing health care provider for the latest and relevant information about hearing loss and hearing aids. Every time they misunderstand what you said; remind them of the difficulty that they are having in hearing. Gently, do this gently. When you repeat yourself... ask them to repeat what they “think they heard”. This is educational for you and your loved one. It can also be quite humorous.
You may be up against a brick wall. Remember, this is personal, and everyone has their own reasons for being in denial. So if you run into resistance then be prepared. They may say to you; “My doctor would have told me if there was something wrong with my hearing”. This is not necessary true. Less than 20% of family doctors do hearing screenings with the annual physical. Another common response is: “a hearing aid will make my hearing loss more noticeable.” Wrong. Constantly asking people to repeat or interrupting constantly when others are speaking is much more noticeable. Perhaps you have tried to bring up the subject with your loved one and you got “a little hearing loss is no big deal.” Wrong again. Hearing loss is directly related to depression, withdrawal, stress, increased risk of personal injury and also a decrease in earning potential. During the conversation if you’re loved one mentioned that his friends think or act like he/she is confused, make sure and explain to them the association between hearing loss and dementia. Hearing loss is often confused with dementia and that is why it is so important to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation. Offer to schedule and attend an appointment with a hearing health care provider with them. Remind them that it only takes a little bit of time to change their life and yours.... for the better! To Hear Better is To Live Better.