5 Tips For Helping Someone You Love With Hearing Loss

12/17/2019 | Hearing loss, Patient Resources

When a loved one begins to show signs of a hearing loss, it is only natural to want to support them and make their life easier. Visiting an audiologist is a step in the right direction for finding suitable care and treatment. But approaching the subject and even simply spending time with your loved one can be a challenge when it is difficult to communicate clearly.

Therefore, I’ve put together five tips for better communication and support to help you out.

  1. Be prepared. Don’t abruptly address their hearing loss without any facts to back you up. Find out everything you can about hearing loss. The National Institute on Deafness is a great place to start. Here you can find some statistics on hearing loss – this will show your loved one that they aren’t alone in their struggle.
  2. Suggest a hearing test. Chances are your loved one will retaliate and this could evoke a range of emotions such as anxiety, embarrassment, and distress. They may worry about the cost of hearing aids. They might be concerned about what others will think. You can help ease these feelings by offering to go with them to their appointment, and you could even have your hearing tested as well. Your help in arranging the appointment might be needed. An appointment with their doctor asking for a referral to an audiologist might be required.
  3. Adjust your communication techniques. Pay attention and make an effort to make conversations stress free and flow with ease. A few techniques to keep in mind include:
  • Face your loved one when speaking to them.
  • Keep eye contact.
  • Speak at a regular pace. Don’t exaggerate your voice or lip movements.
  • Try rephrasing your sentence if the message isn’t getting through.
  • Address them by their name.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth while speaking.
  • Make it known that you are changing the topic to avoid confusion.
  1. Be understanding. Experiencing a hearing loss can be an unsettling time for your loved one. They may feel as if they are losing their independence and their self-confidence might be faltering.

When speaking to them about hearing loss, show some empathy and understanding along with your concern and love. Try not to be pushy but supportive when discussing their hearing loss so they don’t become defensive or further frustrated. Give them a chance to process what you are telling them to ensure a more positive reaction from them.

  1. Social support and awareness. If your loved one is attending a family or social event, it may make them feel better if you are there with them. Prior to the event, you can let other attendees know that you are attending with someone who has a hearing loss. It is often helpful to share a few simple communication tips with other guests. By being a hearing loss advocate, you can make others more aware of hearing loss while helping your loved one to feel more comfortable in social situations.

I hope you’ve found my tips useful. The main thing to remember is that your loved one may be struggling and your kind support and love will mean the world to them.

If you are worried or concerned about your loved one’s hearing, I encourage you to make an appointment for a hearing test. Together, we will create a long-term plan to ensure optimum hearing health.

Simply contact me at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates by calling (541) 612-7555 or clicking here.

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.

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