Because hearing loss develops over a long period, your family, friend, or loved one might not be aware of the condition. Often times, those conscious of their deteriorating hearing loss refuse to admit the problem and seek help.

How you deal with helping a relative or friend come to terms with their hearing loss can have a significant impact on whether or not they seek treatment.

I’ve made a list of guidelines designed to assist individuals in the Menlo Park and Los Altos communities struggling to help a relative come to terms with their hearing loss and seek the help they need.

Begin with Compassion

You may have heard that “love covers a multitude of sins.” Understanding this truth and approaching your relative with compassion is essential.

Regardless of what you say or do, the attitude you take toward your relative will have the most effect on how they respond. A compassionate attitude includes understanding that hearing loss often leads to depression, anxiety, decreased self-worth, and a defensive mindset.

Having a better understanding of the confusion, frustration, stress, and strained relationships of those experiencing hearing loss will help you to be more empathetic.

An understanding, empathetic, and compassionate approach will overcome most of the objections and motivate your loved one to understand how much they benefit from seeking help.

Educate Yourself

Better-informed people can focus on the facts rather than being caught up into the emotional issues attached to the condition. Know the signs and symptoms of hearing loss to help your relative recognize and identify the problem.

Have a solid understanding of the consequences associated with untreated hearing loss. Be well-informed about the statistics related to hearing loss as well as preventative and restorative treatment options.

Spend some time becoming familiar with modern hearing aid technology, which allows the development of performance and discretion far superior to the devices used a decade or two in the past.

Educating yourself helps you to overcome the objections you will hear when you approach your relative about getting help for their hearing loss. 

Be a Hearing Loss Advocate for Your Relative

Being a hearing loss advocate for your relative combines your understanding of the condition while demonstrating your compassion. Be aware of the noise and lighting environment where you communicate with your loved one to provide the very best chance for them to follow the conversation.

Let others know that your relative is struggling with their hearing and provide them with better communication tips. Accompany your relative to appointments and social gatherings to help them understand instructions and conversations.

Encourage the use of hearing assistance wherever it is available.

Improve How You Communicate

In addition to providing an environment with good lighting and reduced background noise, be sure to face your relative when you speak to them. Allow them to see your expression and lips by not covering your face or turning your head away while you talk. Annunciate words clearly and avoid mumbling, but try not to overdo it.

When your relative asks you to repeat something, don’t repeat the same words in a louder tone. Instead, use different words or phrasing to communicate the same idea. Resist the urge to become frustrated or angry regardless of how your relative reacts. Simplify your sentences to make them easier to follow.

Pacific Hearing Service Is Your Hearing Care Advocate

Compassion, understanding, and making a conscientious effort to improve communication goes a long way toward providing the support and encouragement your relative needs to seek help or take advantage of the help they are already receiving.

Pacific Hearing Service provides Silicon Valley patients and their families the necessary support and encouragement they need by being professional hearing care advocates.

Contact us for additional information or support for helping a relative come to terms with hearing loss or to set up a teleaudiology consultation or a hearing exam, which follows CDC protocols to help protect your health and safety.

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Deborah Clark, Au.D.

Dr. Deborah Clark has been with Pacific Hearing Service since 1998. In January 2008, she became co-owner working first in the Menlo Park office and now managing the Los Altos office. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Board of Audiology. She was on the board of the Hearing Loss Association of America, California State Association from 2010 – 2013, and served as Vice President.