Relationships with your loved ones are based on communication, and verbal conversation is a powerful way that we connect with one another. You can share your experiences, thoughts, and feelings with your loved ones through these conversations, and they can reciprocate by opening up to you. However, hearing loss can get in the way of these conversations and can even cause your relationships to suffer. If you have noticed that your loved one seems to be having trouble hearing you, you might be eager to take them in for a hearing test. Although your impulse to help has your loved one’s best interest at heart, some people are resistant to getting hearing assistance. They might not think they need it, or they might have other psychological barriers to getting the help they need. If you are concerned about your loved one’s hearing, it is important to have a conversation about those hearing needs. However, some careful thought, planning, and consideration can go a long way toward making that conversation successful. Let’s explore some of the communication strategies that will help you have a good conversation with your loved one about hearing loss, making it possible get the necessary treatment and support.
Where to Communicate
The first question you can ask yourself is where will be the best place for your conversation. You might have an impulse to talk about hearing loss in a situation where it is difficult. This topical environment might be a moment of frustration in a noisy place or an event when hearing loss seems obvious to you. Although this context seems intuitive, it can actually be a poor choice. Trying to talk in a place with noise can add to the frustration and can even contribute to resistance. Furthermore, if your loved one is already agitated about the inability to hear, then talking about it can add to that anger. Instead of talking about hearing loss in the moment, why not choose a quiet place and time for your conversation. Talking at home is a great way to communicate, and you will be able to more easily hear one another and to have a peaceful talk.
How to Communicate
When it comes time for this conversation, the way you talk is also essential to having successful communication. You might feel an impulse to let your loved one know that you have noticed problems communicating. You might even want to point out incidents when hearing loss seemed obvious to you. Rather than pointing fingers, it is important to give your loved one an opportunity to open up about these experiences. You can use one of these experiences as a context for your open-ended questions. For instance, you can ask if your loved one had any trouble hearing in a certain situation. You can also ask this question more generally, simply inquiring if hearing is ever a challenge. When you open up the conversation in this way, you will be providing a context for your loved one to share. It is possible that they will decline talking about hearing loss, even denying that it is ever an issue. If that’s the case, it is wisest to drop the issue for the time being. Pushing too hard can be counterproductive. Simply by asking this question, you have planted the seed that hearing loss is a possibility. Your loved one might be more aware of situations in which hearing is difficult and might even become open to the possibility.
Why to Communicate
Why try to encourage your loved one to get a hearing test? This diagnosis is the only way to understand the nature of hearing ability and the individual needs for assistance. When our hearing health professionals diagnose these needs, we can pair them with the right recommendations of hearing aids or other assistive technology to help your loved one communicate once again. Starting the conversation with your loved one is the best you can do to embark on this path. When the time comes, you will be able to offer your support and guidance through the process, and your care is essential to a successful path toward treatment.