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Like many people, perhaps you have a loved one who is reluctant to address their hearing loss.  You don’t want to hurt their feelings, or even worse, get into an argument over it.  Nevertheless, you are concerned.  What are can you do?  Here a few suggestions:

Help them understand how it affects you.

Often, those with hearing loss won’t get help because they’re happynot hearing everything.  Silence is very peaceful, and as long as they can have other people interpret what they’re missing, or turn the TV up very loud, they’re happy to do nothing.  However, if you reason with them that their loved ones and friends are suffering because of their loss, they may take action to correct that loss.  For example:

  • Their hearing loss is isolating them from their family members who are tired of repeating themselves.  They miss them, even when they’re in their physical presence.

  • Asking you to repeat everything they miss is exhausting to you and it makes being with them in social situations more and more difficult.

  • Turning up the TV so loud makes it very difficult for you to be in the same room with them – it actually hurts your ears.

Help them understand how it affects them – in ways they didn’t realize

This may really surprise them, but there are many studies linking hearing loss to other things that they will definitely want to avoid.  If getting their hearing checked, and learning about their options can eliminate the following items, they will probably call for an appointment as soon as possible.  Notice what some of these things are:

  • Falling:  A person with even Mild hearing loss (25dB) is 3 times more likely to have a history of falling.  Every additional 10 dB of loss increases those chances by 1.4 times.

  • Isolation: Those with untreated hearing loss (over 50 and older) are more likely to report depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, emotional instability, and paranoia, and are less likely to participate in social activities.

  • Cognitive Decline: Those with untreated hearing loss experience a 30-40% greater decline in thinking abilities compared to those without hearing loss (or those who have treated their hearing loss)

Most importantly, letting your family member know that it bothers YOU that they aren’t getting the help they need.  Making an appointment to get a hearing evaluation is the first step to beginning the conversation – it  carries no obligation beyond that.  To get things started, you can just click here.