Just as hearing loss comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the unique features of our lives, histories, and bodies, our responses to hearing loss can be quite varied, as well. Many people have a growing sense that hearing loss is becoming a problem, and that time has enabled them to accept that treatment will be necessary. Others have a much more resistant approach. They might feel that hearing loss is associated with growing older or losing independence, making the prospect of hearing aids a scary thought.
Still others live fully in denial of their condition, refusing to admit to themselves or others that they are having trouble hearing. If your loved one is showing signs of hearing loss, it is important to consider the uniqueness of their experience and emotional response to the condition. Let’s consider how you can encourage your loved one to take a hearing test in each of these cases: denial, resistance, and acceptance.
Denial of Hearing Loss
Though it might be increasingly apparent to those in your family or community, some people don’t seem to recognize that they are experiencing hearing loss. Despite consistently asking others to repeat themselves or to speak up, some of these people even place the blame on circumstances or the way others speak. Rather than admitting to themselves that their hearing ability has changed, they might rather tune out the world, willingly missing out on information or ideas from others.
If you have a loved one like this, the best approach is to begin by asking questions and listening to their experiences. Simply by asking if they are having trouble hearing, you might be able to open the possibility without pressure. Hear them out. When they shift the blame onto circumstances or others’ style of speech, you can continue asking in what other contexts it is difficult to hear. When a person denies that hearing loss is a problem at all, talking about specific experiences of difficulty hearing can be a very helpful entry point to the conversation.
Resistance to Hearing Loss
For those who acknowledge that they have hearing loss yet are unwilling to get a diagnosis, the conversation can be tricky, as well. These loved ones might have firmly made up their mind to avoid getting hearing aids, and your gentle encouragement can go a long way. The reasons for resistance to getting a diagnosis are quite different from one individual to the next, ranging from fear of aging to believing myths about hearing aids. Each of these lines of thought needs a listening ear, as well as the right information to correct mistaken assumptions about hearing loss and treatment. Just as with those who are in denial of their hearing loss, begin with questions and a loving, listening response. Feel free to ask why they don’t want to get hearing aids, if they have made that decision. When they explain their thinking, you can respond with some information about the benefits of treatment for hearing loss, ranging from the physical and cognitive to the social and emotional. Without pursuing an argument, this information can be helpful to make a wise choice about seeking assistance.
Acceptance of Hearing Loss
Those who fully accept that they have hearing loss and need assistance will need little encouragement. If your loved one is ready for assistance, all you need to do is assist in the process of making an appointment and following through with the test. The test itself is simple, and you can assure your loved one that they need not be worried about it. Once you have a thorough diagnosis in hand from one of our hearing health professionals, you can rest assured that you will be guided through the rest of the process with expertise and care.
Though the world of hearing aids can seem overwhelming from an outsider’s perspective, our professionals are skilled in matching a hearing loss diagnosis with the right kind of hearing aids. Be sure to mention any contexts in which hearing is particularly difficult, as well as the individual features of your loved one’s lifestyle that should be taken into consideration. Your encouragement will go a long way toward making the path from hearing loss to treatment an easy one!