If you suspect a loved one or significant other is suffering from hearing loss, convincing them to get a hearing aid -- or even to get their hearing tested -- may not always be easy.
Hearing loss is often stigmatized by our culture. This puts some individuals on the defensive about having a hearing issue or seeing a professional. Common forms of resistance might include statements like:
- "My hearing's not bad enough."
- "It will make me look old."
- "Hearing aids are embarrassing."
- "My hearing loss isn't bad enough for hearing aids."
- "It didn't work for a friend, so it won't work for me."
It's not always easy to get a loved one to admit they have a hearing problem. Because hearing loss is often gradual, even noticing the problem can be a challenge. But there are ways to notice the signs of hearing loss and help your loved one fight the stigma.
What Hearing Loss Might Sound Like
Here are some of the most common signs that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss:
- They're watching TV or listening to music at a higher volume than might be considered reasonable
- They frequently have to ask other people to repeat themselves
- Becoming more withdrawn and isolated from social settings, because they struggle to follow conversations and are embarrassed to admit it
- They have more difficulty in noisy environments or more populated places
- Complaints of ringing, buzzing, or whistling sounds in the ear (tinnitus)
Recommending a Hearing Test
What's the best way to approach your loved one once you've established they're most likely suffering from hearing loss?
First of all, Be supportive and sympathetic. Understand your significant other may feel guilt and frustration.
Encourage them to talk about the issue, to open up, and to ask for help.
Inform them about their options and the advancements made in hearing technology.
Here are a few facts that might ease the mind of your loved one:
- Hearing loss affects all ages, not just the elderly
- Two thirds of those with hearing loss are under the age of 64
- Anyone can find relief from hearing loss with the aid of technology, even if it's a minor loss
- Hearing aids are much more common than they used to be, and the technology and professional support is far better
- Some insurance policies support hearing aids, and there are options for financial help
- There are hearing aids for a wide range of budgets, and payment options are often available
Finally, you should go with your loved ones to support them once they choose to visit a professional. They are statistically more likely to seek help if someone goes with them.
Everyone should have their hearing tested annually, whether they suspect hearing loss or not.