Encouraging a Loved One to Get a Hearing Test

You might not realize that hearing loss affects nearly 48 million individuals in the US, making it the third most common medical condition.

Encouraging a Loved One to Get a Hearing Test

You might not realize that hearing loss affects nearly 48 million individuals in the US, making it the third most common medical condition. Despite being so common, the stigma surrounding hearing aids and the fear of aging often keep people away from seeking the right treatment. With an insidious impact on both physical and mental health, acknowledging and addressing hearing loss is crucial.

As a family member, partner, or close friend, it can be challenging to see a loved one grappling with hearing loss. You may notice them struggling to follow conversations, constantly raising the television volume, or often asking you to repeat yourself. They might also exhibit signs of social withdrawal, avoiding social events they once enjoyed. Although these symptoms may indicate hearing loss, a comprehensive hearing assessment is a good start towards getting the help they need. 

Yet, approaching a loved one about getting a hearing evaluation is not straightforward. It requires tact, empathy, and understanding. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Choose the Right Time and Place

The first step towards the discussion is choosing an appropriate time and place. Try to avoid discussions when the effects of hearing loss are most obvious, as it may make your loved one feel called out or defensive. Instead, wait for the right moment and find a controlled environment to convey your concern.

Make it About 'We', Not Just 'You'

Avoid using statements that focus entirely on the other person such as, “You’re always asking me to repeat myself.” Instead, articulate your sentiments from a personal standpoint by using 'I' statements such as, “I often have to repeat myself when we’re communicating.” You’ll want to express how their hearing loss affects not just them, but also the relationships around them.

Encourage Open-ended Conversations

Once you've expressed your sentiments, give them a chance to share their perspective. It’s quite likely they have noticed the changes in their hearing but may be hesitant or apprehensive about seeking help. Engage in a real conversation, ask open-ended questions, and lend an empathetic ear.

Offer to Test Together

Sometimes, a shared experience can make a challenging situation feel more comfortable. If you offer to get a hearing test alongside your loved one, it might alleviate their worry. Doing so not only provides the necessary emotional support but also underlines the importance of regular hearing assessments.

Explore Hearing Aid Demonstrations

Many hearing aid providers offer demonstrations allowing individuals to trial hearing aid devices. For someone on the fence about a hearing test, understanding their current hearing experience compared to an improved one with hearing aids might help them see what they are missing.

Remember, while it can be helpful to nudge your loved one towards getting a hearing test, it is equally important to be patient and provide them the space they need to come to terms with the situation. The silent battle with hearing loss can be daunting, but with your support and professional help from audiology and hearing aid centers, your loved one can reconnect with the people they love.

Do not let hearing loss define them - Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dr. Goutham Gosu has been practicing Audiology for the past 18 years and specializes in pediatric and adult hearing healthcare. He completed his graduate degree at Ohio University and received his doctorate in Audiology from AT Still University.

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