You can support a loved one experiencing hearing loss by encouraging them to take a hearing test. Untreated hearing loss can worsen impairment and contribute to the development of other health conditions. Taking a hearing test is the first step to address impaired hearing and receive treatment that is life-changing. Treatment improves hearing capacity which has a range of benefits that significantly enhance quality of life: strengthened communication, improved relationships, social engagement etc. There are several ways you can best encourage your loved one to see a hearing healthcare specialist.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is one of the most pervasive medical conditions that people experience today. Impacting over 48 million people, hearing loss is the third most common chronic health issues people navigate. It is important to identify the signs of hearing loss which you can point to when encouraging your loved one to pursue treatment. Hearing loss results in a reduced ability to absorb and process sound which produces a range of symptoms including the following:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing like noise in one or both ears
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices (TV, speaker, phone etc.)
- Asking others to repeat themselves, speak louder, and/or slower
- Sounds are muffled or slurred, making it difficult to identify individual words
- Difficulty following conversations in places with background noise
- Needing to move to a quieter space to have a conversation
- Being able to hear more clearly in one ear compared to the other
- Pretending to hear, feeling confused during conversations, lip reading
These symptoms can be experienced mildly to severely, taking a toll on the ability to perform daily tasks. Hearing loss symptoms strain communication which make conversations difficult to engage in. This can lead to unpleasant interactions and the desire to avoid social interaction altogether. Social withdrawal is a common impact of these collective symptoms which results in spending less time with family and friends. This kind of isolation can impact mental health by contributing to loneliness, anxiety, depression, and stress. Additionally, untreated hearing loss increases the risk of experiencing accidental injuries, cognitive decline, and unemployment. The best way to alleviate symptoms and improve overall health is to seek treatment which begins by taking a hearing test!
Tips to Encourage Hearing Tests for Your Loved One
There are numerous ways you can encourage your loved one to take a hearing test and prioritize their hearing health. A few tips include:
- Do Some Research: in addition to knowing the symptoms, doing some additional research so that you can provide helpful information can be really useful. This can include where your loved one can do for a hearing test, what a hearing test involves, what they can expect from the process and the impact of untreated hearing loss.
- Choose the Right Time and Place: it is important to remember that hearing loss is often a sensitive issue. It can be difficult for people to acknowledge changes to their hearing health. So be sure to be mindful about the time and place for the conversation. It should be one-on-one and in an environment that is most comfortable for the other person.
- Share Your Direct Experience: sharing ways you have experienced the other person’s hearing loss and how it has impacted you and the time you share together can be a great way to illuminate their hearing impairment. Avoid using “you” statements and start with “I” and how you are affected. This is a useful way to share your concerns and what you have directly experienced (for example: I have noticed that I often repeat what I say).
- Ask Thoughtful Questions: in addition to sharing your experience, be sure to ask your loved one what their experience of their hearing is. They have likely noticed changes and are trying to cope the best they can. Ask what they struggle with, what kind of settings are more difficult, what strategies are they using to hear etc. Actively listen to their responses.
- Suggest Both of You Take Tests: to alleviate some of the pressure they can feel about taking a test, you can suggest that you take a test too! This is a great way to connect and support their hearing loss journey.
If you are ready to take a hearing test, contact us today! We provide comprehensive hearing health services and look forward to helping you on your journey to better hearing.