Knowing someone with hearing loss

A hearing loss does not only affects the person who has it – it also affects spouses, family members and friends. When treated the whole family will benefit from it. Give a caring push to the hearing centre and support your loved one in the process.

When somebody you know is suffering from untreated hearing loss, you will probably also find that his or her social behaviour has changed. The person may withdraw from social activities and feel shame, guilt or anger. He or she may also become more self-critical, frustrated and depressed. And this behaviour most likely affects the whole family.

Sometimes the affected person is not aware of the hearing loss. Or simply denies the fact. In these cases it may take some courage, patience, persistence and determination to convince a loved one, that he or she is having a hearing loss. But the efforts are worth it, as a hearing loss not only affects the person who has it - it also affects spouses, family members and friends.

If you live with a person with an untreated hearing loss or spend a lot of time with him or her, you most likely find yourself repeating, explaining and amplifying everything on demand. You have, so to speak, become this person’s ears. He or she may cope with it –whereas you probably feel exhausted at the end of the day.

Becoming aware of the numerous efforts you make to help and “translate” could be a first and important step towards treatment. Realising the hearing loss' influence on your own life and extend of support you give - most likely day and night - may empower you to take action.

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One step at a time - towards better quality of life

Although the signs of a hearing loss may be obvious, many people are either not aware of the situation themselves or refuse to acknowledge the fact. The resistance of accepting a hearing loss may be linked to an old-fashioned perception of hearing impaired and hearing aids. But with today’s technology and design, hearing aids are so tiny and discreet - almost invisible. And the benefits of hearing aids reach beyond recovering lost sound. 

To evolve the awareness of a hearing loss, it can be wise to take one step at a time, being empathic, supportive, and understanding. You can read about hearing loss on our website - because the more you know, the better you can help. Tell your loved one about the benefits of hearing care, and encourage him or her to have a hearing test, noncommittal and just to begin with. Then, with a graphic medical picture of your loved one’s hearing loss, there is little room for denial. Treatment and progressions may begin.

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Join forces with friends and family

Sometimes empathy and encouragement is not enough, though. If the walls of denial are building up with your loved one, they may be too strong to break down for one person. So, if you feel drained trying to help on your own, ask the rest of the family to support you. They can help expressing the impact he or she has on the family and daily life. They can resist coping and enabling - and avoid repeating and explaining everything on demand.

Also, friends and family can take part in gently reminding your loved one of their hearing loss every time it is necessary to "translate" or repeat something for them. They too can encourage them to visit a hearing centre.

7 good communication habits

There are a number of things you can do to help your loved one, making listening and communicating easier - both while you are trying to convince your loved one to get a hearing test – and after he or she has got hearing aids. They may not always be enough to make all conversations a success.

  • Gain the person’s attention before speaking so they’re ready to look at you and focus on what you’re saying

  • Speak clearly and at a natural pace - don’t shout.

  • Move closer and sit where your face is lit, so that your facial expressions are easy to read.

  • Try not to talk while chewing or smoking, or hide your mouth or chin while speaking.

  • Reduce background noise, turn down the music or TV or find somewhere quieter to talk.

  • If you are in a group, try not to interrupt each other.

  • Instead of repeating yourself, try to rephrase the sentence.

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