How to Deal with a Family Member with Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is something that many of us have to deal with in some way or another. Many of us will have to deal with the issue directly, and others will have to support a close one as they battle the impediment.
For most of us, the idea of living with hearing loss isn't something we've thought about, or want to. Nearly everything we do involves our hearing and the use of our ears, so losing the ability somewhat (or even losing our hearing completely) isn't something that sits well.
Strangely, our ability to hear is something that we take for granted a lot of the time as it's used so frequently and so passively. Once a few issues arise, however, only then do we realize that our ears are even more important than we initially think. They keep us balanced and aware, they provide an extra layer of safety in terms, and they allow us to learn & take in information about things so much more conveniently – so they're pretty valuable.
Losing your hearing can be frustrating, but it's just as frustrating having to watch a family member going through it – especially since the person experiencing it is the last person to realize they have a problem. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help them while they live with this slightly altered lifestyle. Here are a few pointers:
Educate yourself on hearing loss
First things first, you'll probably want to get to grips with everything on your end. If you know more about hearing loss, as well as how to prevent further hearing loss, then you're going to be able to approach certain things more confidently. You'll be able to help out a lot more if you're aware of more aspects regarding hearing loss. You'll know how to behave passively and instinctively whenever something arises.
Make communication easier
Hearing loss isn't something that people get used to overnight. It's something that takes time to adapt to. This is often the case for people of older ages. Statistically, older people wait around seven years to accept that there is an issue and look for treatment. Because hearing loss affects people in many ways, it can take its toll on their social skills and their confidence in terms of being in social situations. If this happens, it's up to you to make communication with them a little smoother.
You can do things like turning down background noises more frequently, such as your TV or any running appliances. Think about the area you're in, as well – is it well-lit and quiet enough for them to be able to understand? You could also call them by their name before you begin speaking with them so that they know exactly what's happening.
This is a basic and fundamental idea, but one that should be thought about consistently. It should also be practiced a fair bit. If you're able to speak clearly and enunciate perfectly, then you're going to have better conversations with your family member. For many, it's hard to understand when people are mumbling anyway, so it'll be doubly difficult for those with a degree of hearing loss. Speak slowly and face them so that they can see your mouth and the gestures you make.
Control your own emotions when things get tough
It can be very frustrating at times, even though nobody is trying to cause any angst. The family member dealing with their hearing might get a little annoyed, or you might get a little stressed as you try to help out. Do your best to be patient throughout the entire ordeal – becoming emotional doesn't help anything. They might also feel even worse about their current situation, which wouldn't be ideal.
Help them with their treatment
Actively choosing to help them out with things like audiologist appointments and exercises would be a fantastic idea. Even if you aren't completely sure about what to do, the thought absolutely counts. You'll be making everything easier for them while displaying to them that you care a lot – which goes a long, long way.
Perhaps change your living situation
If you live in a fairly cramped environment with lots of noise and lots of people, then it might be quite overwhelming for someone that has a hearing issue. It may sound like a drastic idea, but the thought of moving homes might want to be brought into the discussion. Over time, the current area might be detrimental to everyone, whereas a quieter place could put everyone at ease.
Get help for your loved one by contacting a qualified audiologist at El Paso Hearing Aid & Audiology Center at 915-532-6935.