Hearing loss does not only affect the person who has it. Spouses, family members and friends will all benefit when it is treated. So give your loved one a caring nudge towards a hearing centre, and help them along the way.
If someone you know is suffering from untreated hearing loss, you will probably find their social behaviour has changed. They may have withdrawn from social activities and feel shame, guilt or anger. They may also become more self-critical, frustrated and depressed. All these types of behaviour can also have a negative impact on anyone who is near and dear.
Sometimes the affected person is not aware of the hearing loss, or simply denies it. In these cases, it may take courage, patience, and persistence to get a loved one to accept that they have hearing loss.
If you spend a lot of time with someone who has untreated hearing loss, you may find yourself repeating, explaining and amplifying whenever they feel the need. In a way, you become the person’s ears. But while they may cope with it, you probably feel exhausted by the end of the day.
Becoming aware of the numerous efforts you make to 'translate' could be an important first step towards their treatment. Realising the extent of the support you need to give may empower you to take action, on behalf of you both.
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Although the signs may be obvious to others, many people who suffer from hearing loss are unaware they have it – while many refuse to accept they do. Their resistance may be linked to an old-fashioned perception of hearing impairment and hearing aids. But with today’s technology and designs, hearing aids are so tiny and discreet that they are almost invisible. And their benefits reach far beyond just recovering lost sound.
To increase your loved one's awareness of hearing loss, it can be wise to take one step at a time, while taking care to be empathetic, supportive and understanding. The more you know, the better you can help, so read all about hearing loss on our website. Then tell your loved one about the benefits of hearing care, and encourage them to just have a non-committal hearing test, just to begin with. Because, if the test confirms your suspicions, it will give a graphic, medical picture of your loved one’s hearing loss. With little room for denial, treatment and progress may begin.
Our hearing care professionals are ready to give the best help and guidance to you and your loved one.
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Sometimes empathy and encouragement are not enough. If your loved one's denial is becoming stronger, it may be too much for one person to break though. So if you feel drained by trying to help on your own, why not ask the rest of the family to support you? They can help to express the impact that your loved one is having on the whole family's daily life.
Family and friends can take part in gently reminding your loved one of their hearing loss every time it is necessary to 'translate' or repeat something for them. They can thus help 'spread the blame' of the intervention, while helping to point out the ways in which you are being depended upon – which may be more than you realise.
There are a number of things you can do to make communicating easier for your loved one. These tips for better hearing can help while you are trying to convince your loved one to get a hearing test, and also after their hearing aids have been fitted.
Gain the person’s attention before speaking so they’re ready to look at you and focus on what you’re saying
Speak clearly and at a natural pace - don’t shout.
Move closer and sit where your face is lit, so that your facial expressions are easy to read.
Try not to talk while chewing or smoking, or hide your mouth or chin while speaking.
Reduce background noise, turn down the music or TV or find somewhere quieter to talk.
If you are in a group, try not to interrupt each other.
Instead of repeating yourself, try to rephrase the sentence.
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To help hard of hearing people live the life they want with the hearing they have by:
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