Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions people experience today. Nearly 1 in 6 people have some degree of impaired hearing. But only a third of people who could benefit from treatment actually receive it. If your loved one has hearing loss or you notice symptoms, it is important to encourage them to take a hearing test. It can be tough for people to acknowledge changes to their hearing health so it is important to approach this with care and intention. A few tips to support and encourage your loved one prioritizing their hearing health include:
- Research hearing loss. Learning more about different facets of hearing loss is a useful way to approach advocates for a hearing test. Becoming more informed about how hearing loss is experienced can better help you discuss seeking treatment with your loved one. This includes symptoms, impact of untreated hearing loss, treatment options, and what a hearing test entails. Learning more about this enables you to share this information with your loved one which is a great way to demystify hearing loss and address the misconceptions people often have about it which often delays treatment.
- Choose the best time and place. Discussing health and unaddressed symptoms someone is experiencing is sensitive content. It is important to be intentional about the time and space you have this conversation in. You should choose a location that is comfortable for your loved one. They should be familiar with the space and also be able to hear as clearly as possible. Choosing their home or yours may be a solid option. Also, reduce distractions as much as you can by minimizing background noise and powering off the TV or appliances. Be sure that you allocate plenty of time to have a thorough conversation with your loved one. You want to make sure it is not rushed and that you both can thoughtfully engage in this conversation.
- Share your experience of their hearing loss. It can be tough for people to recognize that they are experiencing hearing loss. There is still stigma associated with hearing loss as well as a number of misconceptions that often prevent people from readily addressing their symptoms. So a useful way to approach this is by sharing your direct experience of their hearing loss. Thinking about the specific ways that their hearing loss has impacted you, your time together, and your relationship is a helpful way to emphasize the importance of getting a hearing test. Examples can include seemingly minor things like having to repeat yourself often, speak louder, arguing over the volume of the TV to more significant effects. This includes feeling unheard or ignored during conversations, noticing they go out less, and that you are spending less quality time together which are all effects of untreated hearing loss.
Sharing your direct knowledge and observations of their symptoms can help them identify the hearing loss they are experiencing. Avoid using “you” statements, rather framing what you are saying with “I have noticed”. This can help deliver this information softly and with care, preventing them from becoming defensive.
- Discuss impact of untreated hearing loss. This is where your research also comes in handy. Sharing the impact of untreated hearing loss underscores the importance of seeking treatment. Untreated symptoms can have significant effects on everyday life, health, and wellness. Major ways untreated hearing loss can impact your loved one includes:
- Strained relationships: untreated symptoms take a toll on communication which is essential for relationships. People experiencing hearing loss can resort to keeping conversations as short as possible which prevents quality time. Loved ones often report feeling ignored and frustrated which affects connection and leads to distance as well as tension in relationships.
- Produces social withdrawal: to avoid communication, people often go out less. This includes skipping out on social events and spending time with loved ones.
- Increases health risks: extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss increases the risk of depressive symptoms, cognitive decline, and accidental injuries.
It is important to emphasize the treating hearing loss can prevent these outcomes and
transform hearing health as well as quality of life.
- Provide ongoing support. Sharing your commitment to provide ongoing support is another helpful way to encourage your loved one to take a hearing test. You can also even offer to take a test as well.
Contact us today to learn more about hearing tests and to schedule a hearing consultation for you and your loved one!