If you are concerned about a spouse, family member or friend's hearing, it is critical for you to approach this important conversation appropriately. Hearing loss can be a very personal matter, and, for some people, they may be having a lot of feelings around changes in their hearing. This can include denial, fear of being perceived as 'old', feeling helpless, or feeling embarrassed, among others. Perhaps they are aware of their hearing loss but haven't known what to do about it or thought they were 'getting by' just fine, or perhaps they are so far in denial that they think it is other people who mumble or don't project.
After thousands of patient interactions with people with hearing loss, here are a few tips of how to approach the conversation:
DO ask your loved one about their hearing and its effect on their life, and DON'T make assumptions.
DO by supportive, but DON'T be pushy or judgmental
DO share your observations, but DON"T make this about you.
DO show your concern, but DON'T use scare tactics
DO emphasize the bigger picture of communication and relationships, and DON'T focus just on the device (hearing aid)
DO encourage a visit to an audiologist, but DON'T expect immediate action
For more information or for help navigating this conversation, schedule an appointment for a Family Communication Assessment.