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Communication is the most important thing to maintain in any relationship, and some people are certainly better at this than their partners are. But when one person in a couple has hearing loss, communication on both sides will suffer. This can erode any relationship, no matter how strong the foundations are.
Are you finding that your loved one doesn’t hear half the things you say and is incessantly asking you to repeat yourself? Do they find it hard to understand your words properly? Maybe you get easily frustrated or upset with each other, and find it harder to spend time together as much as you used to. When it’s easier for you to end the conversation than to try to clarify your words, it is high time your loved one treated their hearing loss.
Be careful though. Convincing your partner to treat their hearing loss is much easier said than done.
Why loved ones might avoid treating their hearing
Hearing loss is so strongly associated with aging in the public consciousness that many people are concerned that they are immediately ‘past it’ if they even entertain the idea that they may have it. That helps them to bury their head in the sand for a good few years.
For others, they might genuinely believe that they don’t have a problem. Hearing loss is gradual condition and the brain is remarkably adaptable to reductions in hearing levels, making the process of day to day hearing loss so seamless as to be almost invisible.
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to conditions such as depression, social isolation and even dementia. Though it may seem difficult to begin this conversation with your loved one, it is nevertheless a vitally important conversation to have. Here are some tips to help you encourage your loved one to take a hearing test.
Choose the right place.
It is important to schedule the conversation in a quiet place such as the home as you will want your partner to be able to hear your words, and you also want it to be a private conversation. Make sure that there are no external noises that could interrupt such as music or TV in the background.
Choose the right tone.
Be patient and careful in the tone you use when talking to your loved one. They will probably already be on the defensive and will try to avoid the conversation. Men in particular appear to value their physical independence more than women, and may be more resistant to help. No matter how they respond, be patient and persistent with them.
Use ‘I’ statements.
The words you use to talk about hearing loss can be very powerful. As many counselors would agree, you’ll have an easier time by framing the issue from your own point of view. Beginning your sentences with “I” statements, in the form of observations are recommended. For example: “I’ve noticed you like having the TV louder than everyone else” or “I’ve noticed that you haven’t met up with Pete and Joe in a while.”.
Discuss safety concerns.
You might also have success by expressing concern for your loved one’s safety. Help them realize that hearing loss isn’t just affecting your conversations, but also makes them fail to hear the phone, the doorbell and the alarm clock. Let your partner know you are concerned that this difficulty in hearing could increase the risk of accidents when your loved one is out of the house.
Once you’ve let your partner know of your concerns, ask your loved one open-ended questions and see what they have to say. People are usually a lot more receptive to help if they have some ownership over the reasons for doing so, and that could come from letting them air their side of the story.
After discussing some concerns, you can also talk about the positives that come with treating hearing loss. They’ll find it easier to talk on the phone, continue their favorite hobby or safely take the grandkids out. They can meet up with their friends again and be able to catch every word in the conversation.
For those with hearing loss it is important to approach the topic of hearing loss as a health problem that can be solved with a series of small steps. The first step is a hearing test. Who knows, following the first step your loved one may be invested enough to continue the treatment without you having to encourage them again.
Have you successfully convinced your loved one to test their hearing? Great news! Don’t hesitate to book a hearing test with us at Hearing Care Centers.