How do you tell the people you care about that they have a hearing issue?
It's a conundrum for millions of Canadians whose loved ones — whether it be a parent, grandparent or spouse — are slow to acknowledge their hearing loss.
It's a fact that the people who notice our hearing damage first are the ones closest to us, which is also an important factor for finding help. Recent studies have revealed that people who are dealing with hearing loss are more likely to seek treatment or consultation if encouraged to do so by a loved one. However, many people are reluctant to inform someone close to them about a problem that can be embarrassing to bring up and potentially be a source of conflict. Yet, we want to stay connected to the people we love.
With that in mind, Connect Hearing has put together a list of suggestions for telling someone dear to you that he or she needs to face a hearing-loss issue.
5 Tips on How to Confront a Loved One's Hearing Loss
1. Be Direct.
This is one situation where keeping silent could result in an ironic outcome you don't want. The best way to deal with any situation when it comes to the healthcare of someone you care deeply about is to not put it off. Tell the person that you have noticed a slip in their hearing and then go through the steps that can help him or her deal with the issue, including receiving a complimentary consultation at one of Connect Hearing's 112 clinics across Canada.
2. Give Examples.
We all require proof, particularly in a situation that might cause us to become defensive. In anticipation of that circumstance, be ready to provide examples of recent situations where you noticed your loved one failing to hear you. These should be common occurrences in settings where there is not a lot of noise interference.
"Often, when someone is dealing with hearing loss, those who notice their condition learn to address them while standing in front of them and from a short distance away, rather than across the room or from behind them," says M.J. DeSousa, Director of Professional Practice at Connect Hearing.
"It's that sort of a subtle change in your own behaviour that can help someone see that they have a hearing issue and can convince them to seek treatment for it."
3. Be Compassionate.
Not only should you express your concern calmly and with carefully chosen words, you should emphasize why you want your loved ones to deal with their hearing loss. More than likely, it's because you want to maintain their quality of life and the quality of time you have with them. It's also helpful to quote statistics that help your loved one know he or she is far from alone. More than 7 million Canadians suffer from hearing loss and while it's a condition that may indicate aging, it's not one to be ashamed of.
4. Emphasize the Positive.
Devices used to treat hearing damage are not at all what they were decades ago. They're small, light and attractively designed.
"Approaching the need for a hearing aid or other listening device is really no different than being fitted for a pair of prescription glasses," DeSousa says.
"Our ears incur stress just like our eyes do, and that leads to damage. Fortunately, we have the science and technology to address these conditions, and everyone should be taking advantage of the help that's available."
5. Do It Yourself.
Go ahead, get a hearing screening along with your loved one. That will make him or her feel less alone, reinforce the strength of your relationship and potentially stave off your own hearing-loss issue. With hearing loss occurring in younger and younger Canadians, you'll be doing yourself and your loved one a favour by seeing a hearing professional together.
Here is a great video from our own MJ DeSousa on how hearing loss can affect the people around you.
There you have it. The top 5 tips on how to speak with someone about their hearing loss. If you have any other questions or would like to speak to one of our consultants directly, find a clinic and book a complimentary consultation today.