How to speak to your loved one about their hearing loss

Watching your partner or parent struggle with their hearing loss can be very difficult, but there are many things you can do to help. Counsellor and psychotherapist, Dr Karen Phillip, offers practical advice and tips for the family members – children and partners – of people suffering from hearing loss.

It is important to note that the person suffering hearing loss often needs reassurance from their close family members and support in getting them to seek help from professionals.

Remember to be positive about the possibilities and opportunities that technology now provides to people with hearing difficulties. Here, Dr Phillip explains the kindest and most effective way to speak to anyone suffering hearing loss.

1. Offer practical support
Tell your family member that you will go along with them and get a hearing test too. “You could make your hearing test part of a routine annual health check-up where you both also get other tests done. This will help reduce any anxiety they might be feeling about having a hearing test alone,” says Phillip. 

2. Stick to the positives
Use encouraging words and caring language when talking to your loved one about helping them with their hearing. Demonstrate that you love them and care about them, which is why you want to help them get the support they need. Subtle hints are often met with less resistence. Remember that negative emotions such as anger or humiliation might upset them and prevent them from getting help from the right professionals.

3. Create a positive picture of the future
Positive language can help paint a picture in that person’s mind about all the things they will be able to do if they get their hearing loss addressed. Use your loved one's interests to guide your words. So for example: if your partner loves dancing, say “You will be able to hear the music and you will be able to move freer and easier if you get hearing support.”

“By focusing on the positives your words will resonate with that person and they are more likely to act upon them,” says Phillip.

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Testing your hearing with your partner can help reduce the anxiety of facing the problem alone

4. Get the right third party involved
If your loved one won’t listen to you, they might listen to someone else, Phillip says. She recommends you enlist the expert voice of a trained healthcare professional such as an audiologist, counsellor or physician, since their opinion is likely to hold the most weight.

5. Be compassionate and patient
Remember that it isn’t easy for someone experiencing hearing loss, so be kind and don’t rush your loved one if they’re not ready, Phillip advises. Chances are if your loved one isn’t interested in getting their hearing loss addressed at that moment, they will be later on. “By being patient and putting your empathy hat on you can best guide them to finding a solution to their hearing loss problem when they are ready,” Phillip says.

Why you should book a hearing test with ihear Australia
ihear makes it easy to find a solution to hearing loss. From the initial hearing test, right through to getting a hearing device fitted, at ihear your partner or parent will receive expert advice and guidance from a trained, professional clinician.

To book a FREE ihear hearing check for you and your loved one visit www.ihear.com.au.

Have you experienced issues when confronting hearing loss with a loved one?

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