Talking to loved ones about their hearing loss can be difficult. When feelings are involved, it can be hard to stick to the facts and get your message across. A loved one might need treatment for hearing loss, but they could be unwilling to accept it.

Experiencing hearing loss can cause profound anxiety. Many patients worry that they are losing a part of themselves that they will never get back. Avoiding bringing it up is often a defence mechanism they use to protect themselves from unwanted or unpleasant emotions. They may associate hearing loss with shame and stigma.

Treating hearing loss, though, is essential. Not only is hearing loss a problem in itself, but it can lead to knock-on health issues, such as trouble with balance and depression.

So, how can you explain hearing loss to your loved ones? Here’s what to do:

Start With a Plan

If you notice that a loved one is hard of hearing, avoid the temptation to rush in immediately with the recommendation that they get a hearing aid. Instead, take some time to marshal your thoughts, thinking through how they might react.

When you go into a conversation prepared, it is easier to remember all the things that you want to say. Having a game plan avoids emotions or nerves from getting in the way, showing you a clear path for how you want to proceed. Loved ones may try to deny or avoid the idea that they have trouble hearing, but if you have a strategy, you can avoid their objections.

Write Down Your Goals

Next, write down what you would like the outcome of the conversation to be. For instance, perhaps you want the loved one to have better social interactions with other people, or maybe you want them to struggle less in their daily life. Whatever it is, write down the outcome that treating hearing loss will achieve. Make it clear that there are benefits for overcoming any shame, stigma or resistance that they may feel.

Talk About How Hearing Loss Treatments Can Help

It’s also a good idea to write down a list of talking points about how treating hearing loss can help them. Dealing with hearing loss involves more than just going to the audiologist for a fitting. It brings a host of other benefits, too.

There could include:

  • Feeling happier and more engaged in life
  • Having a greater sense of control and independence
  • Feeling more confident after regaining hearing
  • Avoiding conditions, such as depression, which can set in as a result of hearing loss-related isolation
  • Being better able to have conversations in noisy rooms
  • Feeling safer when out in public
  • Enjoying relationships with other people more

The more reasons you can list, the more appealing treating hearing loss will be. Always point to the benefits on the other side of dealing with hearing loss, not just the fact that their hearing will be better. Point out how they’ll be able to understand you better and won’t have to keep asking you to repeat yourself.

Overcome Roadblocks

When explaining hearing loss to a loved one, they may attempt a number of tactics to avoid the fact that they have a hearing problem. For instance, they may deny that hearing loss exists by blaming you for speaking too quietly. A good way around this is to talk about how you want to share a closer connection with them and do the things you used to do together.

They may also cite economic reasons. For example, they may say that their insurance policy won’t cover it or that hearing aids are too expensive. You can work around this by discussing that there are affordable options available, its an investment in their overall health and showing them a selection of devices.

People who require treatment for hearing loss may also point to their busy lifestyle as a reason for avoiding the audiologist. For instance, they might say that their schedule is too hectic or they already have enough to worry about. To deal with this, you can find an audiologist who is available at a time to suit them and point out that hearing tests only take a few minutes.

Lastly, if stigma is the issue, you can point out how hearing device manufacturers are addressing this. For example, you can now get devices that are small enough to fit in the ear canal, with no externally-visible parts.

Help your loved one get the treatment they need by contacting Desert Hearing Care at (480) 374-1846. Our team is ready and waiting to provide information, support and advice.

Tags: hearing loss basics