Approximately 25% percent of people will experience a severe reduction in hearing when they are ages 65 to 74. That number doubles for people over 75 to 50%. The loss of hearing is a gradual thing. Most people don’t realize that they are suffering from it. The world has gradually gotten quieter for them. People mumble more now and the TV doesn’t sound louder to them. Convincing your loved one to get a hearing test can be a simple way to improve their quality of life. Here are some simple steps to approach the idea in a compassionate manner.
Remember this isn’t for you
A positive attitude can work wonders. Approach getting their hearing tested as something that can make their life better instead of treating it like something is wrong with them. You aren’t doing this to fix something that is bothering you. You are trying to make their life better. Talk about ways that this will improve their lives like being able to be more involved in conversations or no longer having to pretend that they heard what people said.
Let them know the risks of doing nothing
Dementia and cognitive decline have strong links with loss of hearing. While the link isn’t completely understood the loss of hearing everyday noises has an impact on brain function. This isn’t just about their hearing. This is about them having them be as healthy as possible.
If you get a loved one to listen you should have information ready and available. Statistics on hearing loss, numbers for local audiologists, and information on ways it can improve their lives are all things that can be helpful to them once they make a decision.
Consider getting an authority figure
Some people have trouble listening to the concerns of others. They may brush them off as overreacting or they may genuinely think the problem isn’t nearly as bad as others are making it sound. Having a trusted authority figure like their doctor or someone else talk to them about it can sometimes help them take the risks a little more seriously.
Choose a good time
Just because something needs to be talked about doesn’t mean it is always the correct time. Choose a time where they aren’t distracted. Gauge their stress level and decide if this is the best time to talk or not. Choosing a time when they are receptive to listen can be the deciding factor in whether or not they seek treatment.
Choose a good location
You’ve already seen the signs and symptoms of loss of hearing. You know your loved one is struggling with hearing things even if they don’t realize it. Make sure you have your conversation in a place where they both feel comfortable and they can hear well. Make sure background noises are to a minimum and remember to speak loudly and clearly.
Be willing to help them
A lot of times, after someone accepts there is a problem with their hearing, they feel a little lost and confused about what to do about it. Be ready to help them with whatever they need. Help them make the appointment if they need it and make sure there is easy to use transportation to get to their appointment.
Just remember this can be hard for them
It can be a little scary growing older. It can feel like they are losing bits and pieces of their independence. A conversation about their hearing may not feel like a conversation about their hearing to them. It may feel like admitting a little bit more loss of independence. If that is a concern for your loved one stress how treating the problem can improve their independence and safety.
However, you decide to approach your loved one, the most important thing is that you do approach them and let them know of your concerns. Because loss of hearing is gradual many sufferers have no idea that they actually have a problem. So be kind and be sensitive to their feelings, but make sure you have the conversation. Getting hearing loss treated can improve their quality of life and help prevent cognitive decline.