How to talk to a loved one about hearing loss
Approaching the subject of hearing loss with a loved one isn't always easy. You may be able to see the signs, but because hearing loss is often a gradual process, those who are experiencing it may not always realise there is anything unusual and that they could benefit from specialist help.
While it may seem obvious to you that your loved one is having trouble with their hearing, it can come as a shock to them, so it is best to approach the subject in small steps. Having a friendly chat about what you've noticed may help them to become more comfortable with what's going on and more open to looking for a solution.
If you've noticed certain situations where you feel your loved one may be having trouble hearing, maybe ask them about how they manage. It could be talking on the telephone, watching TV or being in large groups with background noise. Once they understand in practical terms that hearing loss is having an impact on their everyday life it can often motivate them to seek assistance.
Sometimes people are resistant to acknowledging hearing loss, as they see it as a sign of ageing or they aren't keen on the prospect of wearing a hearing aid. It's a good idea to gently remind them of the situations they may be missing out on—such as enjoying social occasions or sports. Talk about the things they could gain with help from a hearing device and be positive about the impact of getting help.
You may have a friend, neighbour or family member who uses a hearing aid. If you feel it would be welcome, you could ask them to have a friendly chat with your loved one about their experience and the practical changes it has made to their life.
Help your loved ones to understand that modern devices are very discreet and the technology is simple and automatic, so there really is no need to feel self-conscious.
It is always best to seek help sooner rather than later, but on average it takes six to 10 years for those with hearing loss to seek help. Imagine all the precious moments that could be missed in that time!
It may take a while to convince your loved one to seek advice, but don’t give up. With a gentle and sensitive approach you will be on your way to helping them access the right support to retain and improve their quality of life.