When we think of helping a loved one with hearing loss we tend to think of , a) repeating ourselves, b) writing notes c) turning the volume up on the tv so that it is so loud you leave the room. So the question is; are we really helping our loved ones by doing all of the above? In the end we are feeding the perpetual need to assist our nearest and dearest to hear whilst at the same time they continue to decline their obvious need for hearing help.
So let’s look at this in a different way for a minute; If your loved one, who is suffering in a silent mumbled world of hearing loss comes to rely on you for your good hearing, then what is the reason for them to even consider hearing aids? Many of those affected by hearing loss never fully realise how much interaction they mis-hear or completely miss out on as a result of those close to them acting as their ‘ears’! Interestingly, within a very short period of you acting as their ‘ears’ they soon realise that without their ‘extra ears’ they soon find it a lot more difficult to communicate. As such, it is by this realisation that they may be spurned on to finally doing something positive about their hearing. So what does this mean for you? you need to remove your loved ones dependence on you and create the need for them to seek treatment by no longer repeating messages and being their ears. Ultimately, for both you and your loved one, your goal is for them to be able to hear independently of you.
How can you help achieve?
Simply, stop repeating yourself! You can explain to them that you are helping them realise how significant their hearing loss really is. Alternatively, you can preface everything you repeat for them by saying something like “Ear Ears Ears” to draw attention to the fact that you are compensating for their hearing loss. Within a very short period of time, your loved ones will soon realise how dependent they have become on you for hearing help. This works best for those who believe their hearing is ‘fine’ when evidently not.
Stop raising your voice!
Don’t be the messenger by relaying the conversations for your family. Do not tell your loved one “He said” and “She said”, he or she needs to be responsible for getting this information directly from the source. Let me ask you this question; Have you ever not told your loved one a long story because you thought it would take too long with repeatedly being asked ‘what’ and ‘pardon’!.
Do not engage in conversation from another room as tempting as this is and as convenient as it appears. This sets up your communication process for failure.
Allowing your loved ones to struggle when in company or when on the phone may seem very cruel and heart wrenching when you see them searching for assistance. Ultimately, if they are resisting helping themselves then it is by recognising the true extent of their hearing disability that they may seek the assistance they need.
People, for the most part want to help each other, this is especially true for families. What is in the best interest for your loved one who is struggling with their hearing is for you to take a step back from them and allow them to struggle, by doing you are allowing then to see the extent of their hearing loss and this may be the push they require to be proactive in looking after their hearing health…