How to Support Your Loved One Through Hearing Loss
Going through hearing loss is a huge and emotional life change, and, understandably, you may have concerns for your loved one. Of course, there are physical difficulties, but mental health can also be significantly impacted.
To help them through and keep your relationship in check, it’s important that you know how to offer the proper assistance. This won’t just make communication more manageable but will allow them to embrace the changes.
In this article, we are going to offer some advice on how you can support your loved one through hearing loss.
Are you interested in learning more? Then keep on reading.
Attending audiologist appointments can be difficult for your loved ones as they enter their senior years. Therefore, it can be beneficial to go with them, especially if you know they will be receiving news regarding their diagnosis.
Having moral support while getting any check-ups or even helping to select their hearing aids really does help. Just think of how you would feel if the situation was reversed and how nice it is to have an extra hand.
Educate yourself and raise awareness.
There are a lot of different causes and reasons for hearing loss. Before you can fully support your loved one, you need to educate yourself and raise awareness.
Research online, speak to others, and see what support groups are out there. The more you learn, the more you will fully understand what they are experiencing. Consider it as “walking in their shoes.”
As we have previously mentioned, hearing loss can take a toll on your loved one’s mental health and wellbeing. While it can be challenging, see things in a positive light rather than a negative one.
You might focus on the new technology that can assist them or explain how it will improve your communication on a more personal level. You also want to stay away from using terms that will make them feel isolated or different.
Choose quiet environments.
If you plan to meet your loved one in a public setting, pay special attention to the location. Loud environments such as trendy cafés and shopping centers can be overwhelming, and you’ll have trouble speaking over the noise.
Look for hidden gems with open and private areas. In some cases, it may also be better to sit outside. However, this does depend on the spot and, of course, the weather conditions.
Change your communication habits.
One of the most critical steps to take when supporting a loved one through hearing loss is to change how you communicate. This doesn’t mean you have to learn sign language or write everything down, but simply be careful when you are talking.
For instance, you may want to try getting their attention by saying their name beforehand. You also want to get out of the habit of speaking from another room. It can take some getting used to, but it will soon become the new norm.
A few other tips to keep in mind include:
- Face them directly (avoid talking behind their back).
- Rephrase if they don’t understand.
- Use facial expressions and gestures.
- Move to a different environment if necessary.
Avoid neglecting them in the conversation.
On occasions when you’re in a large group, you should remember to make sure that they aren’t excluded from the conversation. For example, if everybody is chatting and laughing, inform them of what’s going on.
It might also be wise to remind others in private to be careful about how they communicate or what they say. This ensures that everybody can participate and your loved one can socialize without fear of being left out.
Speak clearly and slowly.
When speaking to someone with a hearing problem, your first instinct may be to yell. However, this is far from what you should be doing and can cause unnecessary anxiety for both people involved.
Rather than shouting, speak clearly and slowly, paying attention to how you annunciate your words. Of course, there may be times when you have to raise your voice, but you don’t need to wear your vocal cords out.
Don’t get frustrated.
It’s typical to feel frustrated when you’re consistently repeating yourself or feeling like your loved one isn’t listening. But as difficult as it may be, you have to remember it’s not their fault. It’s not as if they choose to have this happen to them.
Try your best not to get irritated and take a breath instead of showing your frustration. Again, picture yourself in their shoes and how you would feel if people were constantly annoyed at something you can’t control.
Speaking of frustration, it pays to be patient too. It might take them longer to register and answer your questions, and you don’t want them to feel like you are rushing the conversation.
Instead, schedule extra time if you plan to meet up or avoid calling unless you know that you can talk. Yes, this can be challenging, but all it takes is a little bit of thinking ahead.
Spend time together.
Finally, and probably one of the most critical tips to follow is to remember to spend time together. They may already be feeling anti-social following their hearing loss, and you don’t want them to feel even more isolated.
Schedule a visit every week or consider having a phone/video call if you’re long-distance. The little things make a big difference at the end of the day. Who knows, it might just be beneficial for your wellbeing too.
A few activities that you may like to try include:
- A visit to a local museum or gallery.
- Attending a small art class.
- Going to the park.
- Yoga, dancing, or swimming.
While watching your loved one go through hearing loss can be a challenging and emotional time for everyone, it is possible to offer your support. By following the above, you can ensure they get the help they need to feel comfortable again.