Hearing loss might be one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States and there are many causes, from damage to the ear (either over a long time, or suddenly), earwax buildup, medications, and even other health conditions like diabetes and sleep apnea. Getting your hearing checked can save your life, but for some reason, it’s a disability that few are willing to openly talk about.
Why is Hearing Loss so Difficult to Talk About?
For many, it might be because it happens so gradually that the change is almost imperceptible to you. You gradually need to turn up the television, or people just seem to mumble more, or talking on the phone has become a hassle, or that restaurant was just too noisy. Maybe it’s a pride thing, and you don’t want to admit that you need help. Maybe it’s a stigma that we must all break together.
Talking to a Family and Friends About Their Hearing Loss Can Be Challenging.
Have you noticed that your parents, grandparents, or any other loved one has been exhibiting signs of hearing loss? Talking to them about their disability may be just as difficult as someone with hearing loss coming forward with it. When you tell someone with hearing loss the wrong way, they may not listen or believe you, or they may resent you for it, or even put it off further. It’s a tricky subject but CaptionCall can help.
7 Ways You Can Help Someone with Hearing Loss
1. Annual Hearing Tests are Recommended for Everyone: Most people schedule yearly checkups with their doctors, and a trip to a hearing healthcare professional should be part of that routine. Even if someone doesn’t have a noticeable degree of hearing loss, it will at least help establish a baseline for where their (and your) hearing is right now. If the hearing loss is minor, then it can be tracked and hopefully helped before it gets too bad. If the hearing loss is at an advanced stage, then the hearing healthcare professional will be there to provide options.
2. Explain the Risks of Putting Off Getting Your Hearing Checked: There are many reasons why it can be detrimental to put off a checkup, including depression, isolation, early onset dementia, brain atrophy, and a greater risk of falling. When people with hearing loss find that they are missing out on conversations, they tend to withdraw from social situations and the isolation could lead to depression and potentially other ailments as well. Don’t let that happen to your loved ones.
3. Prepare for Objections: When you have that difficult conversation with someone about their hearing loss, you will hear objections like, “people just mumble; I’m fine”, “my hearing isn’t bad enough that I need help”, “I just like to have the TV loud”, and a myriad of other objections. Know that there is a perceived social stigma that comes with hearing loss and that is likely the root cause for any pushback.
4. Let Them Know They are Not Alone: According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), approximately 48 million Americans live with some degree hearing loss. There are also many celebrities who have spoken out about their own hearing loss, so sharing their stories can help too.
5. Go with Them to Have Your Hearing Tested: Getting a hearing test is nothing to be scared about but doing it together can help ease their fears. Hearing tests
are usually conducted in a sound-treated room and will consist of pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, speech in noise and words in noise test, tympanometry, and if need be, testing for hidden hearing loss.
6. Don’t Be the Only One Who Talks to Them: If you are talking to your parents, grandparents, or a friend, get others involved in the conversation. People are more likely to listen if they know many people care about them and their well-being.
7. Contact Your Local Hearing Healthcare Professional for Help: If your loved one is reluctant to get their hearing checked, you can contact a professional for further advice on things you can do to help them get treatment.
Remember, on average, it takes someone seven years to get their hearing loss taken care of, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you a couple of tries. Anything you can do to help your loved ones lower that average is going to benefit them, and everyone around them. It is time to break the stigma of hearing loss together.
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