Our senses are the way we interact with the world, and as such they are incredible personal, sensitive topics. Not only do we tend to feel like our senses are a private matter, but they are also a key part of bodily ability, identity, and beliefs about our own worth. For these and many other reasons, it is important to take care, consideration, and sensitivity into the process of discussing sensory ability with anyone, including our loved ones. Those who are closest to us deserve the respect and thoughtfulness that others do, but it is easy to forget to show that concern for those who live with us and who are nearby at all times. Let’s talk about some of the ways to carefully and lovingly discuss a limitation of sensory ability: hearing loss.
Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Loss
If you have noticed that someone you love has hearing loss, this realization may or may not have occurred to that person. Although it might seem clear to us from the signs of the repeated questioning, the loud television, or the missed calls across the house, a person who has untreated hearing loss has found ways to satisfice that can be quite creative and can also be subconscious. Rather than consciously devising strategies to work around hearing loss, our minds find shortcuts and heuristics to make it possible to understand the world the best we can. This habitual process may not even occur to the person with hearing loss, making it entirely possible that they don’t know they have hearing loss at all.
Find the Right Time and Place to Talk
The suspicion that a loved one has hearing loss should be handled with care. Choose the right time to discuss the possibility. Rather than a busy mealtime or while in transit, choose a quiet and calm location and time to talk. It is particularly important that you make the conditions easy for conversation, particularly with someone who may be dealing with serious limitations to understanding speech. Begin by asking questions. Rather than making a claim that could be taken as an accusation, simply ask how your loved one has been doing and if they have had any trouble hearing lately. It is quite possible that they have been waiting for the opportunity to talk about it and will welcome the conversation.
Discussing Your Concern for Their Well-Being
For those who are resistant or even offended that you might ask a question about their hearing ability, tread lightly. Be sure to remind them that you are concerned for their wellbeing out of love. If they push back, perhaps it is best to revisit the conversation at a later date. If they simply deny that they have hearing loss at all, you might want to suggest getting a test just to make sure. A hearing test is a painless, quick, and simple test that measures a person’s ability to hear sounds at a range of volume and pitch. By simply sitting in a room, wearing headphones, and gesturing if a person hears a sound, an audiologist or hearing specialist will be able to detect how many sounds are audible to the person and how many pass by undetected.
Offer Your Support
Encouraging someone to get a hearing test can be as simple as offering to make the appointment or join them in attending it. Some people feel overwhelmed with the options available for hearing treatment and don’t know which service provide will be a good one to choose. You can become the liaison between your loved one and the hearing care professionals, making the call, setting the appointment, and accompanying them to the hearing test. With this kind of support, your loved one might feel more willing to take the test. If you find that your loved one remains resistant after several conversations, you might want to describe some of the benefits of hearing assistance. One of the most profound benefits described by people who have hearing loss is the regained feeling of connection with their families and loved ones. The ability to easily and clearly converse and take part in family events often relies heavily on hearing ability, and getting hearing aids can be a way to reconnect with family members after a period of isolation.
At Audiology Central, we provide comprehensive hearing health care in a comfortable and caring environment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.