Starting the conversation with someone you care about
Because the person you care about may not notice his/her hearing loss, loving family members and good friends often have to start the conversation about hearing loss. We know how hard that can be, so we’ve created this guide to helping you begin a conversation about hearing problem symptoms with your husband, daughter, father, jogging partner, or friend.
First and foremost, it is important not to place blame. Hearing loss is an invisible disability that the afflicted have absolutely no control over. So don’t start the conversation with statements like “You can’t hear me any more.”
Because people with hearing loss are often anxious or stressed in busy or loud situations, begin your conversation in a quiet, safe place without a lot of people. Make sure you have plenty of time to discuss the issues and that neither of you needs to be anywhere immediately following your conversation.
Start By Simply Asking
Ask them if they have had any problems hearing (in a non-threatening manner). Example: “When we were at dinner last night, I noticed you couldn’t understand the waitress, is that correct?”
Express Urgency for Treatment
Express urgency in getting hearing loss treated. Hearing loss can cause people to become isolated, depressed, and also have cognitive decline.
Discuss The Impact of Hearing Loss
If they have changed their activities, stopped going to club meetings for example, use this as an opportunity to talk about how hearing can impact their ability to feel connected and belonging in these types of situations. Quality of life is important, and experiencing life allows for that quality of life to be maintained.
Join Them for Their Hearing Test
Go with them to their hearing test so that you can talk about your perspective as well. This will not only provide support but help frame the situation from an outsider’s perspective.
Stop Being Their “Ears”
Try not to repeat everything for them or speak loudly at them, this will force them to do something about the problem.
Remind Them Hearing Loss Affects Relationships
Remind them that this is important for them but also you. Hearing loss can create a lot of stress in relationships and letting them know how it is affecting you is also important.