What Should You Do If a Loved One has Hearing Loss?
You might think the above question should be an easy one to answer. Get them help. Right? If only it were that easy.
Many people with hearing loss will resist any suggestion that their hearing isn’t what it used to be or that they should have a hearing test. Even among people with a diagnosed hearing loss, 75% do nothing about it. If your loved one falls into either of those categories, you’re in for an uphill struggle to make them see reason.
Undiagnosed hearing loss is an especially tricky situation. Most hearing loss happens very slowly, over years—so slowly, in fact, that the person has no idea that it’s happening. They get so used to gradually compensating for that slow fade in their hearing that they may not notice until there is a big change in their quality of life.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, from time to time, if you suspect hearing loss in a loved one. The answers may help you make the case for getting that loved one’s hearing checked:
Has their attitude toward social gatherings changed?
If the life of the party starts turning down invitations, it may be because of frustration over an increased difficulty to hear in social situations. If your plus-one has hearing loss, trying to connect with people amid loud music and cross-talk can make for a very unsatisfying time.
How do they do on the phone?
Everyone can find phone conversations difficult without a perfectly clear connection. Imagine what that’s like with hearing loss. Most of us can use context to reflexively guess at the words being missed, getting a good deal of it right. With hearing loss involved, taking in enough of what is being said in order to make such a guess can be extremely difficult.
Is conversation difficult in restaurants?
The background noise in restaurants is one of the most common enemies of people with hearing loss. If your loved one seems unusually quiet amid the sound of rattling dishware and the murmur of conversations, he or she may be getting fatigued by the effort to hear clearly.
Are you often accused of mumbling?
People developing hearing loss don’t necessarily think of that as the source of their communication problems. Often, they assume that others are being sloppy with their speech.
How do children sound to them?
The softer, higher-pitched voices of children can be very challenging for someone with hearing loss. Add to that the fact that small children are still learning their language skills (enunciating poorly or mispronouncing words), and you may notice that your loved one is missing out on enjoying the little ones in their life.
Does a long session of listening tire them out?
It takes a lot of effort for someone with hearing loss to stay focused in challenging listening environments. That level of concentration can be quite tiring, so be on the lookout for signs of listening fatigue.
Do they ever complain of clogged ears?
For many people, hearing loss feels as if something is literally stopping up their ears. If your loved one has that clogged feeling, and there isn’t anything causing a physical blockage, it’s time to consider hearing loss. Keep in mind that they may also experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears), a frequent early sign of hearing loss.
Can you enjoy a TV show together?
There are two things to watch out for here: 1) Your loved one often asks you to repeat what an actor just said on-screen, 2) Your loved one needs to keep the TV at a volume that is excruciating for you.
Are they just not quite themselves, lately?
If your loved one has stopped paying attention during conversation, no longer seems
to care what’s going on, or seems irritable in group situations, hearing loss may be to blame. Also, keep an eye out for balance issues and increased incidents of falling; those are connected to the state of the inner ear.
Are they getting on your nerves?
Constantly having to repeat yourself or fill in gaps in conversations for someone can be frustrating. Not getting a response to a question can make you feel ignored when you are simply not being heard. All of that can lead to personal tension. Watch for signs of stress in your relationship; hearing loss may be the cause.
We hope you find those tips helpful. and here’s one more: Try your best to be patient. Hearing loss can be a very hard idea for someone to accept. If you would like to learn more about helping a loved one who may have hearing loss, please contact us. We’ll be happy to speak with you.