It’s not easy bringing up hearing loss with a family member or friend. The most common reaction is, after all, “hearing loss? Not me!” Whatever the reason your loved one gives for denying they have a hearing problem, it’s critically important that you have this conversation —because hearing loss not only takes its toll on everyday activities and social relationships, it can also threaten your loved one’s physical and mental health. In this post, we feature four tips from Beltone’s Director of Education Ken LaFerle on how to talk with a loved one about their hearing without fear of confrontation or awkwardness.
1. Approach your loved one with compassion
Your loved one may not even know they have hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss comes on gradually; the person whose hearing is deteriorating is often the last one to know.
2. Tell your loved one how his/her hearing loss affects you
Start your talk by emphasizing the value you place on your relationship with the person. Then explain the detrimental effect the hearing loss is having on your connection. Make sure to mention how common hearing issues are later in life—it’s estimated that 50 percent of Americans over the age of 75 suffer from the condition.
3. Explain that hearing help is available & mention friends who have benefited already
It’s always helpful to mention a friend or family member who has benefited from hearing aids and how it has improved his/her life. If your loved one is concerned about vanity or being “the person with hearing aids,” explain how much more effective and discreet hearing aids are today than they were even 10 years ago.
4. Don’t give up. Get support from others!
You will almost surely be rejected the first time. Most people who use hearing aids say that they were eventually won over by persistent, loving family members who had their best interest at heart. In fact, that’s the leading reported reason someone makes an appointment to have his or her hearing checked! Sometimes, encouragement coming from others is better received.
5. When your loved one is ready — offer to go with them to a free hearing check
Once your loved one is ready for a hearing exam, you can make an appointment for
a FREE EXAM with a specialist at one of our Beltone Hearing Care Centers online or by calling us at 1-800-BELTONE.
Your friend or loved one may still be anxious about the free test. Offer to accompany them to the appointment and remind them that Beltone’s audiologists put every patient at ease and will present them with latest information to allow them to make their own decision about their hearing health.