Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Susan L Fenrich, BC-HIS* Family & Friends, Hearing Loss

Susan L Fenrich, BC-HIS*

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

You may feel an urge to act if you think a loved one might have a hearing impairment, and you would be doing the right thing. Hearing loss can lead to all kinds of health conditions if left unchecked.

This can be easier said than done, as there are many different age-related taboos surrounding hearing loss, which may prevent your loved one from being open to treatment. But the reality is that hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the US, affecting nearly 48 million individuals. It’s also a disorder that affects people of all ages.

Signs of hearing loss

When you have a friend or a loved one who you suspect has a hearing loss, the first step is to understand the symptoms of hearing loss so that you know what to look for:

  • They have trouble hearing on the phone.
  • If people talk at the same time, they can seem to get lost in the conversation.
  • Others complain that the television is too loud when watching with them.
  • They say, “What?” quite often. This makes interaction with them quite frustrating.
  • They are beginning to withdraw from social activities they once loved.

If you are worried and want to take action for your loved one, here are a few tips for convincing a loved one to take a hearing test.

Choose the right time and place

When talking about such a sensitive issue as hearing loss, it is necessary to choose the correct time and place to do so.

You may want to discuss hearing loss immediately when the hearing loss is most apparent, but it’s better to wait, evaluate, and decide on when and where to communicate your point of view best.

Bearing in mind that hearing loss affects one’s speech recognition capacity, finding a nearby, quiet place to talk is a good idea. Also, consider having a one-on-one conversation instead of doing it in a large group. Remember, the best type of environment for people with hearing loss is one that’s relaxed, secure, and quiet.

Talk about how their hearing loss affects you

Approaching the conversations with statements about “you” can drive the person you are trying to engage further away.

Instead of using phrases such as “You’re never listening” or “You’re just asking me to repeat myself,” trying to reframe the dialog by using phrases like “I” to encourage the listener to see it from your viewpoint. For example:

“I’ve found that when we’re talking, I often have to repeat myself.”

By focusing on how these things affect you personally, it highlights how the hearing problem doesn’t just affect your loved one alone, but the people around them too.

Ask questions and listen

Having expressed your opinions and concerns about your loved one’s hearing impairment, let them talk and share their thoughts on the issue.

More often than not, your loved one has already observed some issues with their hearing capacity but is concerned about getting help or reluctant to do so. Actively listen to what they say, and ask open-ended questions to continue communicating with them.

Take a test too

If the hearing loss of your loved one has affected you so much that you want to help them deal with it, chances are you understand the importance of seeing a hearing health professional and acting early on hearing loss. Therefore, why not take a test alongside your loved one?

Doing so can make your loved one feel more relaxed. By leading by example, you will inspire your loved one to take their hearing test. You’re doing your part to convince them that listening tests are for everyone.

Take advantage of hearing aid demonstrations

It’s obvious when you need glasses – your vision is blurred, and the text is harder to read. Yet the most evident sign that we lose our hearing is always some other issue, such as dementia, social isolation, or an increase in the risk of falls. Until then, your hearing loss may have progressed far enough to impact your quality of life significantly.

But by letting your loved one practice with a hearing aid, he or she might realize what they are missing out on, making them more inclined to seek the help of their own accord.