5 Tips on How to Start the Conversation About Hearing Loss
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Talking to your loved one about their hearing loss is not always easy. It can be difficult and even embarrassing for them to admit they have a problem. The benefits to better hearing, though, are far too great to ignore. Help your loved one hear at their best by starting a dialogue with them and encouraging them to book a free hearing test. Here are some tips for getting the conversation started.
Tip 1: Choose a safe space to talk
It’s tempting to bring up a loved one’s hearing difficulty in the moment. Maybe you’ve had to repeat yourself several times. Perhaps you’re sick of how loud the TV is. Maybe you’re tired of repeating yourself or acting as a translator at dinner parties.
While it may seem relevant to discuss the problem then and there, you need to remember it may be difficult for your loved one to accept. Bringing up the issue at the wrong time and catching them off-guard may cause them to get defensive and, as a result, not be as receptive to your message. Instead, start the conversation in a quiet and private place that your loved one feels comfortable in.
Tip 2: Be compassionate
Just as important as where you have the conversation is what emotional state you’re coming from. Telling your loved one that they may have hearing difficulty should not come from a place of frustration. If you’re feeling frustrated by your loved one’s hearing difficulty, make sure you take time to collect yourself before you have the talk. That way, you’re coming at the issue from a more objective standpoint, which your loved one will be better able to relate to.
It may be beneficial to keep a log of all the situations and settings you notice your loved one has difficulty hearing in. This can also work as a way to process the frustration and turn it into actionable talking points.
Tip 3: Do some research
Your loved one is most likely aware that their hearing is not at its best, but they may not be aware that it’s a real problem. Be prepared for this. Be ready to get concrete about the impact that their hearing is having on their life, social dynamics and even their mental and physical health. Living with untreated hearing loss affects far more than their ability to hear. Make sure you give them the information they need to take the next step in overcoming their hearing loss.
Tip 4: Get them on the same page
If you find that your loved one is having difficulty accepting that they have hearing loss, or is reluctant to do something about it, it’s important to get them on the same page as you. A good way to do this is having them take a simple online hearing test. While an online test shouldn’t replace a hearing test with an audiologist, it can act as a good first step.
Tip 5: Be their support
Even when your loved one is aware that they have trouble hearing and is ready to take action, they may not know how. They may feel overwhelmed and helpless. Offer your support and guidance. Gather information for them, help them set up an appointment with a hearing care expert, and be there with them when they go in for the appointment.
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