Do you have a family member or close friend who obviously needs hearing help? This can be exhausting and extremely frustrating, perhaps even causing feelings of anger toward the individual with hearing loss. You may even find yourself lashing out exasperated and asking, "why won't you do something about it?!"
Resist these temptations. Instead, understand that people refuse to seek help for hearing loss for a variety of reasons that are valid in their own minds. Use a constructive approach to gently lead the loved one or friend to better hearing. You can also take steps to make listening a bit easier for a hearing-impaired person -- and life a little less stressful for you.
When someone won't get help for hearing loss.
- Calmly discuss how the hearing loss affects you. Share an anecdote about a friend who benefited from hearing aids. Example: "I feel so exhausted when I have to repeat everything."
- Share an anecdote about a friend who benefited from hearing aids. Example: "Did you hear Fred got hearing aids? He told me how much happier he is now."
When asked to repeat something, respond with words such as "hearing helper" -- which is code for "Here I am again being your ears!"
Stress the positives of good hearing. Cite statistics about how good hearing can improve job performance, personal safety, social involvement and feelings of self-worth. Click here to learn more.
Eight tips to make listening easier for your companion.
- Move closer to the listener - ideally three to six feet away.
- Make sure the area is well lit, enabling the listener to pick up on visual cues.
- Get the person's attention and make eye contact before speaking.
- Keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking.
- Limit distractions from competing noises.
- Speak slowly at a normal volume...don't shout.
- Stay in one place when conversation.
- Write down important details you want the person to remember.
If you know someone with hearing loss, we have a hearing test you could take together. If they are ready to schedule an appointment for an in-person hearing test, make sure you check their benefits ahead of time.