Helping the one you love come to terms with hearing loss

People don’t realize what they are missing in conversations and how many sounds they no longer hear.

Acknowledging hearing loss begins with complex reactions, but the most common one is denial. Although there are many reasons why people have denial, the bottom line is: taking that first step to get a hearing test may confirm their worst fear — that they do have a hearing loss.

There are factors that make denial logical for many people. Hearing loss often progresses slowly. People don’t realize what they are missing in conversations and how many sounds they no longer hear. It is a known fact that it takes about seven years for someone to acknowledge hearing loss. They may hear well in some situations — good acoustics, quiet atmosphere without background noise, one-on-one conversations with a familiar person. Denial can be a tricky thing when that person uses it as a defense mechanism: everyone else has the problem — the world “mumbles!” But most of the time denial goes back to our society’s historical “taboo” of aging.

To help your loved one move beyond denial — don’t push too hard. Find out where they are having the most trouble hearing. If the TV volume becomes too loud, look into assistive listening devices for TVs. Find a phone or handset with stronger volume control if they are missing phone calls. If they can’t hear the door bell, alarm clock or smoke alarm, look into visual/vibrating alerting systems. Use safety as the motivator to get them to consider taking that hearing test. These are the first steps to get people to be aware of their hearing loss and of what they can do about it.Iit is important to know the other reasons for making them take a hearing test. Long-term, unchecked hearing loss can cause auditory deprivation (a condition that results in the brain “forgetting” how to hear and understand speech). Ninety-five percent of people with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids. Nine out of 10 hearing-aid users report improvements in quality of life. If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids contact Hidden Hearing.

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