It can be easy to tell when a loved one has trouble hearing. But no one likes acknowledging when they need help, let alone help to hear. It has negative connotations, but the positive benefits of restoring hearing are immense.
If someone close to you has untreated hearing loss, it's natural to want to help them. But as you may have already discovered, getting them to act is a difficult task. The first step is to have their hearing checked by a healthcare professional.
Hearing loss can be emotionally challenging. Your loved one might be going through denial, frustration, anger, loss of confidence or withdrawal. They may be defensive when discussing their hearing or try to avoid talking about it altogether.
6. Encourage a hearing test
Now that you've directly discussed hearing loss, it may be time to encourage them to organise a hearing test. Or maybe they need some more time to think about it. Suggesting a time when both of you can take an online test together may be a useful first step. Remember, you are gently guiding someone to make the decision for themselves. If you make it as easy as possible for them, they are more likely to follow through and book a full hearing test.
There are more than 300 National Hearing Care clinics around Australia and hearing tests are free and performed by trained staff. A yearly hearing test is recommended to anyone over 50 years of age as part of their annual check-up.
A lot of people with unaddressed hearing loss have similar reasons for not wanting to address it. If you're aware of these common objections, you can prepare an appropriate response. Consider these three:
"Hearing aids will be more trouble than they're worth"
Some people think hearing aids will get in the way of their lifestyle or require a lot of maintenance. This is not true. Hearing aids come in many different styles. Some people actually report they forget they're even wearing their devices because they integrate so seamlessly with their lives.
"Hearing aids are embarrassing"
Some people are embarrassed to wear a hearing aid because they think it makes them look old. But constantly asking people to repeat themselves is a much more obvious and disruptive indication of hearing loss than wearing hearing aids would be. Modern hearing aids are discreet and depending on the style, some are barely visible.
"I'm too young to have hearing loss"
Hearing loss can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, or any other factors. Hearing difficulties are often a natural result of the ageing process, but so are deteriorating eyesight and grey hair. We all know these things happen to different people at different ages, and hearing loss is no different.