How to Deal with a Family Member with Hearing Loss?
When you have someone close to you dealing with hearing loss, your natural instinct is to help. Ideally, they will have an expert audiologist on their side to help them through the changes that they must now get used to in their life. Dealing with hearing loss is hard when you are the relative and not the person adjusting to it. Why? Well, your natural instinct is to help, and you can end up a hindrance unless you educate yourself on how to speak to someone with hearing loss.
You want to be able to engage and be mindful of their hearing condition, and the good news is that there are several things that you can do – even though they cannot hear what you are saying too clearly. We've got some ideas as to how you can deal with a family member with hearing loss.
You must be understanding
You can’t shout across the room at someone with hearing loss, or speak slowly and expect not to be met with disdain. People with hearing loss are finding it hard to hear you, they’re not dumb and shouldn't be treated as such. So, be supportive and understanding of the condition, and if you don't know much about it, it’s time to learn! You want to show your relative that you are concerned about being respectful while also managing to be patient. Practice your new communication strategies and get advice from an audiologist so that you don’t get this wrong.
Forgive yourself when you get it wrong
When you are trying to talk to a relative with hearing loss, it will feel frustrating, and you will beat yourself up for that. You must forgive yourself when you want to shout at them instead of repeating yourself. It’s human to want a conversation, but you must practice patience and remember that they are not trying to make conversing difficult. They can't hear you the same way that they used to, and their hearing loss isn't designed to be an inconvenience for you. Remember that and forgive yourself when you get it wrong!
Where you can, rephrase your sentence
No two people with hearing loss experience the same lack of sound. If your relative cannot hear what you’re saying, there’s every chance that raising your voice won’t help as their frequencies are off. Rephrase what you are trying to say into simpler terms and speak clearly.
Adjust your own speaking
It’s crucial to take responsibility for the words you are saying. If you are mumbling or not enunciating your words correctly, you can’t then be upset if someone can’t hear you properly. Make sure that your relative can see your mouth move – don't cover it up! If you adjust your speaking so that they can see your mouth move and hear you talk at the same time, you’re going to have a successful conversation.
Accompany them to the audiologist
While it may not be your place to nag your relative about their health, you can accompany them to the audiologist and ensure that they are given the right hearing tests and hearing aids to help them to hear. You must support them in this, as it can be frightening to need to rely on external devices to hear. This is a scary time, and it’s overwhelming to know that their hearing is not as it once was. Insisting that they get hearing aids will be for their benefit, but they may not see it that way at first and you have to be responsible with your encouragement.
Support them constantly
Your family member is dealing with something new and new isn’t always a good thing. They may be scared, upset and even embarrassed that they can no longer hear as they used to. The right audiologist should make them feel comfortable and clear on their future with their hearing, and you can help them to find the right one.
Get some help
The whole family will be going through an adjustment period when someone no longer hears as well as they used to, so you need to get some help. A professional will ensure that your relative has the right hearing aids and enable you to communicate with each other properly once more. It’s so much easier for your relative to get the right advice from someone that they can trust, and often this person is a professional. The best thing that you could do right now for them is to help them to learn more about Associated Specialists in Hearing Disorders & Hearing Aids by calling 951-778-0181 today.