Misunderstandings, inconveniences, and frustration are common issues when dealing with a loved one suffering from a hearing loss. Not only does the one with a hearing loss experience these problems, but I have also noted that every family member and friend also feels the impact of hearing loss to some degree. Consequently, developing a strategy to help a loved one understand how hearing aids can help their hearing loss and how to cope until they get that much-needed help requires overcoming a number of challenges. Here are a few basic principles and tips you can use to improve communication and provide encouragement for those who wish to help a loved one with a hearing loss.

Start with Love and Understanding

In my years of practice as an audiologist, I have noticed that the most effective way of helping individuals with a hearing loss is to approach their condition with love and understanding. Those with a hearing loss feel damaged, worthless, and/or vulnerable. An understanding and loving approach improve your chances of success much better than a forceful, demanding approach. To deal with a loved one who has a hearing loss, you must lower your level of defensiveness and raise your level of patience.

Educate Yourself

One way to lower your level of defensiveness is to educate yourself. Take advantage of as many resources as providing statistical data, signs and symptoms, treatment options, advice on encouraging your loved ones to get a hearing test, etc. as you can. Dedicate some time to become familiar with the innovative digital hearing aids currently available. Consider taking a look at the sleek, lightweight, highly advanced designs of 21st-century hearing aids, many of which are only noticeable to those who know you are wearing them.

Address the Issue Not the Person

Approaching a loved one about their hearing loss issue will never be easy. Denial will probably be their first response. Don’t push it, and by all means, avoid attacking their character. Address the issue rather than the individual. Being armed with plenty of information from your research, when used sparingly, along with prudence and empathy, will prove more successful in the long run. Be sure to communicate your support of whatever decision they make so that you can keep a line of communication open.

Suggest a Hearing Test

Your ultimate goal is to get your loved one to a hearing test. I can only provide them with the various forms of help they need after I identify the problem with a hearing test. Getting them to a hearing test is usually the most difficult part of the process. Help them to understand that a hearing test is a simple, non-invasive procedure used to identify the level and cause of their hearing loss, which may or may not require treatment. You can demonstrate your support by scheduling an appointment for yourself as well or simply tagging along with them to their appointment. Another strategy is to approach your loved one’s primary physician, using the knowledge you gained by educating yourself and ask them to make a hearing test referral. 

It can be a significant challenge to get a loved one to get help for their hearing loss. If you begin with an attitude of love and understanding, educate yourself, address the issue rather than the person, and make a hearing test your primary objective, you are more apt to meet with success. At Duncan Hearing Healthcare, my team and I have the experience, expertise, and equipment to provide the highest level of hearing healthcare to your loved one in Dartmouth, MA, and the surrounding area.

Contact us for more information about how to help a loved one with a hearing loss or to set up an appointment at one of our three Duncan Hearing Healthcare clinics near you.

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Nancy Duncan, Au.D.

Nancy Duncan, Au.D.

Dr. Duncan’s Southcoast roots run deep, establishing a special connection to the community where she practices. A homegrown product, she graduated from Somerset High, just across the Taunton from Fall River, and received her B.S. in communication disorders and psychology from Worcester State College. Her master of science in audiology was awarded at the University of Arkansas in 1997, after which she worked for several private audiology practices in Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.