Have you noticed you’re constantly repeating yourself to a loved one? Is the volume of their television, radio or tablet often blaring?
One in two of us know someone with a hearing loss (The State of Hearing Report, 2019), yet we know it can take up to 10 years to do something about hearing issues after they notice a change (Davis et al., 2007). Hearing loss can have wide-reaching effects not only for the person experiencing it, but also for their family, friends and colleagues.
Bringing up the topic with a loved one can be a sensitive conversation, particularly if you think it may take some convincing for them to seek support. Hear and Say Audiology Manager, Julie Decker reflects on steps you can consider when talking to loved ones about hearing loss.
“It’s important to carefully choose the time and place to have this kind of discussion – ideally somewhere calm, quiet and with no distractions,” said Julie.
“Express your concerns from a place of understanding and care. Chat about examples of when you’ve noticed they have difficulty hearing, or even times when they were ‘missing out’ because they couldn’t keep up with what was going on around them.
“Consider talking about the potential impact it’s having on others. Things like if the television volume is constantly raised it can be a distraction for other members of the household, or the frustrations felt from people always repeating themselves. There are also the many potential safety issues that hearing loss poses, such as not being able to hear fire alarms or alerts.”
If your loved one is interested in seeking assistance with their hearing, the next step is to book a hearing test with a qualified audiologist.
“It can take time for people to come around to their hearing loss and be ready to take action. However, even if someone believes they only have a mild hearing loss, encourage them to get a hearing test to confirm the full picture of what’s going on. The earlier they receive support, the better,” said Julie.
“Offer to come along to the appointment with them. Two sets of ears are often better than one! You may also like to get your hearing tested too – having a baseline for years to come is useful.
“Although these conversations can be difficult, early invention really is key. The longer your brain goes without good sound input, the greater the chance you may have a permanent loss of understanding speech clearly. This makes maintaining your qualify of life and connections to loved ones far more difficult.”
Hear and Say audiologists work to gauge an individual’s history, their lifestyle and communication goals, so that they can be best matched with the type of hearing aids that meets their personal needs.