Most of the time, hearing loss is an extremely gradual process that happens over the course of years or even decades. Because of this, the person with hearing loss usually does not notice or is in denial about their hearing changes. Loved ones are usually the first to point out a potential hearing concern. Once you notice changes in their hearing, encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test can feel like a difficult task. This is because hearing loss can be a very emotional journey. When approaching a loved one about their hearing, doing so in a loving and compassionate way can make all the difference in whether or not your loved one listens.
We’ve compiled some helpful tips on encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test.
Timing is Everything. Especially if hearing loss has gone untreated for quite some time, it can be difficult to refrain from hollering at a loved one to get their ears checked after you are frustrated by asking him for the umpteenth time to turn the volume down. During an argument or when one person is flustered is never a good time to discuss hearing loss. In order for your partner to fully understand you, it is important to choose a time to talk to them about their hearing when both people are calm, and there is ample time for a full discussion.
Respect their Boundaries. For many people, the first time they talk to their loved one about potential hearing loss does not immediately result in their scheduling a hearing assessment. Oftentimes, people need a bit of time to process what you have just expressed to them. It is important to give your loved one the time and space they need after your conversation. If your loved one does not seem ready to schedule a hearing assessment, set yourself a reminder of a future date to speak with them about it again. Usually, your loved one has also noticed changes in their own hearing, and is more ready to take action after they have had some time to process the fact that their hearing has also been affecting you.
Speak from Your Perspective. Of course you are encouraging your loved one to take a hearing test because it will positively benefit their life. You understand that treating hearing loss will help your loved one better enjoy talking on the phone, social situations, and interacting at work. While this is all true, it is best to speak from your perspective when encouraging a loved one to take a hearing test. Be honest with yourself and your loved one about how their hearing loss has affected you, even if it may be difficult to do so. Have you felt ignored and “not listened to”? Express it. Do you often feel you are communicating less because conversations have become frustrating? Tell them. These conversations are hard to have, however, studies have shown that people are significantly more likely to take action on their hearing loss if they believe it is causing stress or harm to those they love.
Offer to be Their Support System. If your loved one is ready to schedule an appointment, perhaps you could help them with this process. You could assist by contacting us at Advanced Hearing Solutions, and even make the initial phone call to schedule a hearing assessment. (Remember to only take this step if your loved one seems ready for it). Offering to come to the appointment with your loved one can also be a show of solidarity and support that will help your loved one take actionable steps towards caring for their hearing health.
Listen to Your Gut and Be Yourself. While these tips are helpful, no one knows your loved one better than you do. Perhaps you and your father have a very playful relationship full of humor. If this is the case - use it! Staying as natural as possible during these conversations can help your loved one realize that hearing loss is not the end of the world, and that treating it will not change the relationship. If fact, plenty of studies have shown that hearing aids actually improve social relationships in every aspect of one’s life!