"You can't talk to me when your back is to me!"
"Speak up, I can't hear you!"
"Well you don't have to yell at me!"
Being the loved one of someone with a hearing loss is not easy. It takes the average person seven years to come to terms with his or her hearing loss and seek hearing aids, so what are you to do in the meantime? We recommend practicing good communication skills. Here are some tips:
- Have conversations face to face.
- Get the person's attention before trying to talk to him or her. It is especially helpful to use someone's name before saying something, i.e., "Marcus, we are leaving for the party in five minutes." We have a very emotional response to our own names.
- If asks to repeat yourself, use different phrasing. For example, your first attempt may be: "Would you like to pick up anything for you at the store?" Response: "What did you say?") Then try: "I'm heading to Shop Rite. Any requests?" This gives the person more context and more opportunities to get the message. The first phrasing may have included words that were in a frequency range that were difficult to hear.
- Consider slower instead of louder. Sometimes people with hearing loss also find loud sounds more uncomfortable. This is due to a type of hearing nerve loss. Speaking more slowly gives the listener a chance to fill in the blanks.
These tips can help, but also important is making your loved one aware of their hearing loss. This can be tricky, especially with a reluctant candidate, but here are some considerations.
- Debrief: After a party or get-together, ask open-ended questions such as "How do you feel you did with conversations tonight?"
- Enlist the help of a primary care doctor or other medical professional
- Befriend some happy hearing aid wearers and have a casual conversation about their experience with your loved one present
Most of all, be patient. Some individuals consider pursuit of hearing aids a sign of old age or failing health or weakness (none of which are true!). A hearing aid wearer who feels he or she was pushed into the decision is more likely to reject their aids and be unsuccessful. People who come to our office on their own are empowered to change their communication abilities and "own" the experience. They tend to be successful with hearing aids in the long term.
At Advanced Specialty Care, our audiologists will work with your loved one through diagnostic testing and conversations to determine what their hearing abilities are. Our goal is to find the best solutions to make their hearing and communication the best it can be. If you know someone having hearing issues, help them to take the first step and schedule a hearing exam. Call (203) 830-4700. Our audiology and hearing aid offices are located in Fairfield County, CT in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.