Suspect They Have Hearing Loss? Here’s How to Give It to ‘Em Straight.

Let’s face it: no one wants to be told there’s something “wrong” with them – particularly something that’s often associated with aging, like hearing loss.

However, as many as one in three Canadians over the age of 65 actually do have some degree of hearing loss. It’s very common, and certainly nothing to hide or to be ashamed of.

But telling a loved one you think they might be in that one in three can still be a tricky thing.

Some people are very receptive, and still others are motivated to seek help from a hearing healthcare professional without any prompting.

But then there are those who don’t want to accept that they can’t hear as well as they once used to – or that hearing aids might be able to change everything for them, and for those around them.

So what do you do when you suspect a loved one has hearing loss, but you know it’s going to be a hard conversation to have? Here are six ways to help encourage them to be proactive about their hearing health – for their own good and yours.

1. Talk about the benefits of better hearing. For instance, not only does hearing well allow you to live fully and confidently, but it can also benefit your health. Hearing loss in older people can be associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline, it saps you of physical and mental energy, and it can even contribute to falls because hearing plays a key role in our ability to stay balanced.

2. Gently explain how much they’re missing. The most obvious thing is not hearing specific sounds you once enjoyed. But there’s so much more that hearing loss impacts. It could be closeness with a partner because communicating has become so difficult, or avoiding social interaction because having to listen so intently and decipher muffled sounds in crowded restaurants or gatherings is just too tiring, or even missing out on a promotion because you’re lacking the confidence you once had.

3. Remind them that they’d be safer if they could hear better. Hearing enhances our spatial awareness. That means outdoor activities will be much safer if you can hear traffic, car horns, or even someone calling out to warn you about a hidden obstacle.

4. Tell them how much hearing aid technology has improved over the years. Today’s generation of hearing aids don’t look or perform anything like their antiquated ancestors. They’re small, technological marvels with features like wireless Bluetooth connectivity, tinnitus support, feedback reduction, rechargeable batteries, and advanced hearing technology that delivers more sounds to the brain that are clearer while improving speech understanding and reducing listening effort.

5. Let them know that their hearing loss can impact others. Obviously we’re not talking about a full-on guilt trip here, but sometimes it’s helpful to be gently reminded that hearing loss has an effect on others too. It could be concern that your loved one isn’t as safe as they once were, frustration that you have to repeat yourself, or even the fact that the TV is always up so loud you can’t hear yourself think.

6. Hearing loss is permanent. Thankfully, hearing aids can help us hear better if we’ve experienced hearing loss, but once the damage is done, there’s no getting your hearing back. It simply makes sense to see your doctor and a hearing healthcare professional to determine the root cause of hearing loss in case it can be treated before it gets any worse.

Finally, remind your loved one that they should love themselves – and their ears – enough to making hearing and ear health part of their overall healthcare. Start with a free, comprehensive hearing assessment and a free, 30-day hearing aid trial at a HearingLife clinic near you!

HearingLife forms the largest network of hearing clinics with over 400 network clinics across Canada. Staffed by certified hearing healthcare professionals, HearingLife offers the most advanced hearing aid technology and up-to-date diagnostic equipment, as well as clinical support and exclusive 360-AfterCare. #LoveYourEars and visit HearingLife here to book an appointment for your free trial today.