With hearing loss impacting 1 in 5 people, you may know someone with impaired hearing. Though hearing loss affects over 48 million people, it still remains widely undertreated. In fact, only a third of people who could benefit from treatment, actually receive it. Hearing loss treatment is commonly avoided which leads to a delay in treatment. This can have significant effects on everyday life, health, and wellness. There are useful ways you can encourage your loved one to take a hearing test which is the first step towards treatment. Practicing the following strategies can give them the push they need to prioritize their hearing health.
Learn more about hearing loss.
Taking the time to learn more about hearing loss is a useful way to prepare yourself to have an intentional conversation with your loved one. Learning more about the symptoms of hearing loss adn the impact of those symptoms increases your understanding of how your loved one experiences hearing loss. This is especially useful because it gives you more information you can provide when encouraging your loved one to take a hearing test.
Have an intentional conversation.
It is important to be intentional about having a conversation with your loved one about their hearing loss. It can be tough to acknowledge changes to health and to then take action so be sure to be sensitive about this. First, think about the right time and place to have this conversation. You want to make sure that the environment is familiar and comfortable for your loved one. You also want to leave ample time to have a thoughtful conversation about their hearing loss and seeking treatment. Be sure that the environment is not noisy (reduce background noise as much as possible) and that you both are able to be comfortable. It is important to face them while speaking and to be fully present and engaged during this conversation.
Share your experience of their hearing loss.
Another useful tip is to be specific when discussing your loved one’s hearing loss. They may not be aware of how their symptoms impact others – especially if they’ve been trying to sweep their hearing loss under the rug. Be sure to share specific ways that your relationship – quality time, conversations, daily activities etc. has been impacted by their hearing loss. Are your conversations different? Do you argue about the volume of the TV? Do you feel like they aren’t listening to you sometimes? Provide specific examples and avoid using “you” statements, rather using “I” statements. It is common for people experiencing hearing loss to under-recognize how their hearing loss is impacting their loved ones. So discussing this, with kindness and care, is a helpful way to illuminate how their hearing loss is affecting their relationships.
Discuss the impact of untreated symptoms.
Another useful factor you can discuss when encouraging your loved one to take a hearing test is the impact of untreated symptoms. Hearing loss can be thought of as not as serious of a condition because it isn’t fatal but this minimizes the toll that hearing loss can have on one’s health. Untreated hearing loss can strain communication, relationships, and health. It produces a range of symptoms that take a toll on communication so to cope, people often avoid conversations as much as possible. This can include spending less time with loved ones, skipping out on social events, and participating less in hobbies. Social withdrawal is a major symptom of hearing loss. Not only does this impact relationships and social life but also mental health. Studies show that people with hearing loss can be more likely to experience depressive symptoms. Additionally, untreated hearing loss can increase other health risks. This includes cognitive decline, falls, and accidental injuries. These effects highlight the importance of early intervention.
Highlight the benefits of treatment.
Treating hearing loss involves a painless and non invasive process. Treatment offers countless life changing benefits that transform one’s quality of life. This includes strengthening hearing and communication, improving relationships, enriching social connection, and boosting overall health. Treating hearing loss allows people to live full and active lives that they can participate in. Taking the time to really highlight these benefits is a great way to encourage taking a hearing test.