Talking to your parents, grandparents or partner about their hearing loss is a difficult task. No one ever wants to be the bearer of bad news or play the role of bad guy.
In recent weeks, we have been offering tips on how to confront a loved one's hearing loss. Our advice has included reasons why you should speak up about this sensitive issue and tips on how to help someone close to you accept his or her hearing loss. Now, we present 5 Ways to Discuss a Loved One's Hearing Loss.
1. Put yourself in their shoes.
Your message will be better received if you have taken the time to consider how your loved one will feel about hearing the news that you believe hearing loss is an issue to be discussed.
"Sensitivity is paramount," says M.J. DeSousa, our Director of Professional Practice.
"With many health issues, it's a physician who is the first to deliver the news. But with hearing loss, it's the people closest to the person who needs help who are first to notice the condition. They are often the ones who will need to discuss it in order to prevent further damage. Kindness and patience are the keys to getting the desired result, which is to get your loved one to seek help from a hearing-health professional."
2. Rehearse your speech.
Although you may have wanted to say something for a while, it's best to put your words on paper and speak them out loud prior to divulging your concerns to a person who may not welcome the message. By rehearsing your speech, you will become more comfortable with what you need to say and you will also be able to notice where your wording needs to be more sensitive and where it needs to be more forceful.
3. Do it as a family.
While interventions are often thought to be related to drug or alcohol addiction, they should be considered for any health condition. If you see someone you love dealing with a sensitive issue, you're likely not the only one noticing it. Gather one or two other close family members or friends who you believe will help make a convincing argument to your loved one that he or she should find help for hearing loss.
"The goal is always to prove to your loved ones that you all just want to stay connected throughout your lives," DeSousa says.
4. Offer testimonials.
Many, many notable people have dealt with hearing damage and continued to excel in their careers and life. Earlier this year, we profiled several famous musicians who have dealt with hearing loss and managed to keep up with their recording and touring commitments. Show some examples of such celebrity cases and your loved one may feel less anxious and less alone as they struggle with their own condition.
Click here for some eye-opening testimonials from Unitron.
5. Let a professional help you do it.
The surest proof is scientific evidence, which is what Connect Hearing provides with its complimentary hearing screenings. Visit the clinic nearest to you and bring your loved one with you. A hearing-health professional will walk your loved one through a screening that will indicate the extent of the hearing damage. From there, treatment will be recommended and follow-up consultations will be available.
Here is a video from MJ talking about the process you would go through to see if hearing aids are right for your loved one.