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\Does your partner make you repeat yourself more than you’d like? Do they want to watch TV at a volume level louder than normal? If these things are true, you probably suspect that they have hearing loss.
Untreated hearing loss is linked to a host of physical and emotional issues for the hard of hearing individual, but it could also have a wider impact. Studies have found that couples where one half has hearing loss have on average 50 percent more arguments than normal. The content of these arguments is centered around seemingly innocuous things like the volume of the TV, or misunderstandings in communication leading to mishaps. But the frequency of these disagreements will strain any relationship.
It’s natural to want to talk to your loved one about getting a hearing test if they need it. But this is easier said than done. Here are some ideas on what you can do to increase your chances of success.
1) Take it one step at a time
Your loved one’s hearing loss may be obvious to you, but not to them. The loss of hearing usually comes so gradually that a lot of people aren’t aware they have an issue until the loss has become significant. And when it is pointed out to them, many will refuse to believe it, choosing to live in denial for years. This is a common phenomenon – people wait on average 7 years before seeking help for their hearing loss. That’s why it is important to take things slowly, one step at a time. It is a delicate balance between getting your loved one the help they need, and not hammering the idea into them with such force that they become alienated and resistant to the idea.
Be empathic and supportive. Learn as much as you can about the process of taking a test, and talk to them about this and the benefits of treating hearing loss. They might be surprised to hear how non-invasive a hearing screening can be. Encourage them to just have a non-committal hearing test to start with. If the test comes back and confirms your fears, what will also be returned is a detailed overview of your partner’s hearing loss for them to see, which may convince them to accept further treatment.
2) Show your respect and concern
Although hearing loss is incredibly common in young and old people alike, it still carries the stigma of being a sign of old age. This may make it difficult for your parent, grandparent or partner to be told that their hearing is not what it once was. The last thing that a person with hearing loss wants is to feel that they are being looked down on, so when the time comes to talk about the possibility of your loved one taking a hearing test, show compassion and tact, being respectful of their pride.
3) Address common misconceptions
Even if your partner has taken a test and confirmed their hearing loss, they may still be unsure about actually wearing a hearing aid. Some people feel embarrassed to wear one or worry that it will be obvious to others. You partner may need to find out for themselves that the act of persistently asking others to repeat themselves draws more attention to their hearing loss than a hearing device would.
If they are concerned about the device standing out, it might be wise to point out that there are a multitude of hearing aid sizes on the market today. A completely in the canal (CIC) hearing aid exists, which is the most discreet option, and is more or less invisible to all but the most eagle-eyed. Many other hearing aid styles are sleek and minimal while still offering great functionality. A hearing healthcare professional will work with them to find the best style and level of technology for their needs and preferences.
4) Suggest a trial run
If they are still non-committal, why not suggest trying one out? Many manufactures allow you to test their products for 45 days and return them for a part or full refund. Take advantage of this and try out several over the course of a few months. Your partner might find the hearing aid is more useful and discreet than they previously thought.
5) Stop translating
This next one is on you. If you are in the habit of repeating your words and explaining things, then you are prolonging the length of time your partner can survive without professional help. To encourage them to come to terms with their condition, it is better to stop these habits. You might meet some resistance initially, but forcing them to fend for themselves will make them realize faster that their hearing loss is unsustainable if untreated.
Visit Us at Absolute Audio
There’s no reason to live with untreated hearing loss. If you believe you, or a loved one, may be experiencing hearing loss, give us a call at Absolute Audio. We provide comprehensive hearing tests, and if a hearing loss is detected, we’ll work with you to find the best solutions to meet your needs. Schedule an appointment with us today!