Helping Your Loved One Seek Help for Their Hearing LossNovember 16, 2020
Hearing loss is challenging not only for those who have it, but also for those who have to see their loved ones go through it on a daily basis. You may be concerned and wish to help your loved one overcome the challenges they face due to their hearing loss, and there are ways you can help them get the help they need.
It is important to begin by viewing hearing loss from their perspective. Realize that they may not be in the same mental space as you when it comes to seeking help for their hearing loss. They may not even realize that they HAVE a hearing problem and may grow defensive if you suggest it. Keep these things in mind before talking to your loved one about their hearing loss.
As vital as you may think it is, it is important not to rush them into a decision to seek help for their hearing loss. This may have the opposite effect if they feel pressured. Let them take their time and come to terms with their hearing loss. Talk to them openly and give them an understanding ear so that they can share their hearing struggles with you. Understand their needs and difficulties before thinking about the solution.
When your loved one finally opens up to you and comes to term with their hearing loss, begin increasing their awareness about the risks of untreated hearing loss. Learn about the problems hearing loss poses. Research shows that untreated loss of hearing can result in massive cognitive decline which can result in dementia. Even heart disease is a possibility, as is sustaining an injury due to falling.
Talk to your loved ones about the psychological setbacks of having hearing loss as well, including increased risk of depression and anxiety. Explore any of the symptoms that they may be experiencing due to their hearing loss, and what they wish to do about it. Always remember, the decision to seek help for their hearing loss should come from them, not you. This increases their ownership and compliance in following through with the decision.
When your loved one is ready to seek help, be there for them as a moral support and be sure to accompany them to the audiologist. Set a specific date to visit the audiologist and get their hearing examined. Accompany them for this visit and sit through the entire session, taking notes if necessary to make sure you remember the vital bits of information that your loved one may have missed out on.
If your loved one is a recommended candidate for hearing aids, explore the hearing aid options together with your loved one. Weigh out the pros and cons of the different types of hearing aids. Also inform your loved ones of the many benefits of getting hearing aids. Research indicates that those who use hearing aids to treat their hearing loss report higher levels of cognitive functioning, decreased rate of falling, and lowered risk of dementia.
Getting hearing aids can also be a liberating experience since it means they no longer need to depend on faulty methods such as lip reading or body language to get by each day, so be sure to discuss this advantage of getting hearing aids.
When your loved ones get their hearing aids fitted, be sure to be with them as a support as they grow accustomed to their new hearing world. This can be a challenging yet exciting time as they are able to hear sounds they were unable to hear before. Let them take the time they need and be supportive about their efforts, encouraging them to take it one day at a time. All it takes is an empathetic ear to take care of ears that are affected by hearing loss.