Aging is not always an agreeable thing. Our minds and bodies slowly decline, and it can lead some individuals to feel depressed.
One of the ways our bodies begin to fail us is our hearing. Statistics show the most significant percentage of individuals with hearing loss belong to those aged 60+, and men are nearly twice as likely to experience hearing loss between the ages of 20 to 69.
So while you may think your loved one would benefit from a hearing aid, they may not realize it, or even want to admit it. It can be both frustrating and upsetting to discover their hearing is in decline, but they refuse to acknowledge or accept it.
Common Signs A Hearing Aid Is Needed
Individuals with a family history of hearing loss or who have worked in specific industries may be predisposed to hearing loss. If you are not sure, here are some common signs that indicate a hearing aid would benefit your loved one:
- Frequently asking, “What?”
- They increase the volume of music/television.
- Often do not hear things like the doorbell or phone.
- Complaints of ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Problems conversing with more than one person.
- Withdrawal in social situations (due to worry over misunderstanding conversations)
- Often responding incorrectly.
Certain medications are considered to be “ototoxic” (toxic to the ears) such as those used to treat heart disease or cancer.
But merely suggesting they get a hearing aid can come across as insensitive at best, insulting at worst. This is particularly true if you have repeatedly attempted to get them to consider a hearing aid to no avail because your frustration continues to grow.
Instead, begin by first putting yourself in their shoes so you can broach the subject appropriately.
Losing the ability to do anything can be devastating, so it’s important to remember your loved one did not ask to lose their hearing. Friends and family members can get frustrated when they have to repeat themselves regularly, and the guilt can compound that frustration felt for feeling frustrated.
It’s important that you speak with them from a place of understanding and empathy because you will be more likely to be heard, and they will be more receptive to what you are saying. We often judge ourselves for our shortcomings, so making sure they understand you are coming from a place of concern and love will help them feel more comfortable discussing it.
Three Tips to Help Convince Them
Every individual is unique, and your loved one might be the sensitive type, the funny type, or the serious type. Consider their personality type before approaching them about their hearing. Sometimes humor can be inserted to lighten the mood, but sometimes facts and figures would be more appropriate.
1. Suggest A Hearing Test
There are many different reasons for hearing loss, and sometimes a hearing aid is not the solution. That’s why seeing an audiologist is the better suggestion because an audiologist can determine what, if any, underlying cause there may be contributing to the hearing loss. If we suggest that a hearing aid is the best option for them, they may be more inclined to listen to an audiologist and take our professional advice.
2. Show Them What Hearing Aids Look Like
There are several different types of hearing aids that are much different from the large, clunky ones of the past. Technology has significantly changed the way we hear, and often hearing aids can be worn without being visible to others. Your loved one might be among the many who find hearing aids to be undesirable. Studies have shown that societal forces significantly influenced the choice to be tested for hearing loss and to wear hearing aids.
3. Offer To Help
In the U.S., research indicates that only 20 percent of adults with hearing loss receive treatment and use hearing aids and a significant contributor to this statistic is financial constraints. By offering to assist them with the burden of cost, you remove one obstacle from their getting treatment.
In a compelling article published by Dr. Samuel Trychin, additional reasons why individuals might refuse to seek treatment include:
- Higher Priorities
- Lack of Transportation
- Fear of Being Seen as Incompetent/Failing
- Fear of Doctors
- Fear of Ridicule
Each of these reasons, however, can be remedied with understanding and patience. When we remove the barriers from them by offering to help in any way we can, they won’t have any reason to fear being checked by an audiologist.
Imagine those times when, in the past, you and your loved one laughed and talked together. Wouldn’t it be great to get back to those days again? It can happen with the right support, diagnosis, and treatment.
At Big Thicket Hearing Aids and Audiology, we would be happy to have a no-obligation phone call with you or your loved one to answer any questions, offer our expertise, and make some recommendations. Contact us today or request a callback, and we will be in touch as soon as possible.
Dr. Joni Ruiz is the owner and Doctor of Audiology at Big Thicket Hearing Aids and Audiology. She earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009 from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. Selected for a prestigious fourth-year externship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ruiz has more than ten years’ experience as an Audiologist. She has a heart for patient-centered care. At her hearing care practice, she performs comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations, provides aural rehabilitation to her patients and their loved ones, dispenses state of the art hearing aids, and manages the care of said devices for their life. Dr. Ruiz is dedicated to patient education regarding hearing loss, hearing protection, and hearing aid selection.