Have you noticed differences in the way you communicate with a loved one? If they need you to talk louder or repeat yourself often, it could be one of the many signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is incredibly common, but many people have problems taking the initial step to confront the issue. On average, studies have found that people ignore their hearing issues for seven years before seeking help.
While people tend to procrastinate around their hearing loss, the earlier it is treated the easier it is to manage, so encouraging your loved one to get a hearing test is always a good idea. If left unaddressed, hearing loss can greatly restrict a person’s overall health and their quality of life. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for helping someone you care about.
Recognize the Signs of Hearing Loss
If someone is struggling with hearing loss, it is important to know what to look for. Most people with developing hearing loss can detect sound, but instead of hearing it loud and clear it may come across as distant and muffled. While they can catch that something has been said, they may struggle to understand it.
The first and most common sign of hearing loss in a loved one is in their conversational behavior. If they ask you to speak up or repeat what you said frequently, even if you are talking at a normal, clear volume, it can indicate something is wrong. Sometimes a person with hearing issues will bluff their way through an interaction - possibly giving out-of-context replies and answers to what’s been said.
Out in the world, hearing loss can restrict a person, especially in loud and busy settings. If your loved one is withdrawing from restaurants, parties, travel, and other social functions hearing issues may be responsible. Hearing issues may make them very quiet or distracted in large social gatherings.
If you watch television or listen to music or the radio, take notice of how they set the volume. Volume levels that are constantly being turned up can mean that hearing at lower volumes has become a challenge. Detecting any of these signs or multiple signs is a good indicator you should talk to your loved one about hearing loss and encourage them to get a hearing exam.
Show You Care
Talking to your loved one should be a quiet, focused conversation. Make sure you have a good indoor setting where you can have a private discussion without background noises interfering. Explain to them what you’ve observed and why you’d like them to get their hearing tested. Then, take time to listen to their perspective and feelings about hearing loss.
For many people, learning that their hearing issues are affecting other people is the reason they confront their hearing loss. Often, a person believes that their hearing issues only involve themselves and don’t have an impact on how others communicate. Of course, with hearing, it always involves more than one person. Losing the ability to communicate with someone you care about can be heartbreaking. Let your loved one know how much you value your relationship with them, and why you care about their health.
The good news to share is that while hearing loss is usually irreversible, it can be treated with hearing aids and other assistive devices. Hearing aids have developed in leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Modern designs are barely noticeable when worn, slipping discreetly behind the ear or inside the ear canal. Hearing aids are also individually programmed to match a person’s hearing loss precisely and help them hear the tones and frequencies they are most challenged by.
Using hearing aids can help a person hear better and greatly improve their quality of life. Hearing aids make comprehending speech and following conversations easier and more pleasurable. They can help a person continue engaging in the social activities they enjoy and staying close with the people they love.
What’s the next step? Be there for your loved one if they need help making an appointment and talk to them about the results of their hearing test. Here at Audiology Associates of Redding, we love working with people to find hearing solutions that match their lifestyle and needs. Our comprehensive hearing testing is painless and noninvasive, and can give you or someone you care about a complete picture of any hearing issue.