Are your parents or loved ones showing signs of hearing loss?
Key to Hearing can visit them at home and explain how we can help
We’re often contacted by people concerned about hearing loss in a parent, relative or friend. Difficulties with hearing can have a serious impact on personal relationships, as the person with hearing loss may not realise (or accept) they have a problem and become frustrated when they find it harder to communicate.
It’s also common for other people to be blamed for ‘not listening’ when the actual issue is mishearing or misinterpretation. This can be upsetting for everyone involved.
Noticing a change in Mum or Dad’s hearing?
It’s sometimes the case that a parent’s hearing loss is first spotted by their children. You might find communicating with them more difficult, notice they’re talking in an unnecessarily loud voice or turning the TV volume up to high levels. Because hearing loss tends to progress gradually, your Mum or Dad may have become accustomed to these changes.
Other relatives and friends
The same principle applies to friends and other loved ones. Unless you see them very regularly, you’re more likely to notice a change in their hearing than someone living under the same roof or who is in constant contact with them.
Why it’s important to ask for help
As their hearing deteriorates, your parent, friend or relative will start finding life more difficult. They’ll struggle to cope in social situations and the workplace, find it harder to make conversation – even at home – and enjoy music, films and TV programmes less than before. All this can ultimately lead to a loss of confidence and your loved one might stop doing things they previously enjoyed and could even stop going out at all.
As well as social issues, untreated hearing loss can have other consequences. If your loved one drives, they may be unable to hear other vehicles approaching, horns sounding or emergency sirens – which could prove extremely dangerous. Using public transport also becomes more difficult, as listening to announcements or even just buying a ticket becomes challenging.
Research also shows that hearing loss can make other medical problems worse, including dementia and cognitive decline (the use of hearing aids can help in these situations). Other issues include feelings of helplessness and lack of independence which in turn can lead to depression and other mental health problems.
Talking to your loved one about their hearing
It can be hard to tell someone, especially your Mum or Dad, that you think they’re having problems with their hearing. Equally, it can be difficult for the person with hearing loss to accept there’s anything wrong and that they need professional advice.
Here are some tips to help you discuss things successfully.
Do some research first. The conversation might go better if you can show that you’ve taken the time to find out about hearing loss and some of the technologies that can help. Some people still have misconceptions about hearing aids and may not realise how powerful and discreet today’s models can be. You’ll find all the information you need on the Key to Hearing website.
Speak to your loved one in person. Hearing loss makes it harder to communicate on the phone, so go and see your friend or relative in person. It’s also important for you to be there if they get upset. Choose your time carefully – try to speak to them alone and when they’re feeling relaxed.
Focus on effects and benefits. Probably the worst thing you can say is ‘You need a hearing aid.’ Rather than being overly direct, take a softer approach. For example, you could say that you’re concerned they’re not going out much anymore or that their grandchildren miss talking to them on the phone. Then, gently explain how, with help from a hearing care professional, they could start doing the things they enjoy again.
Offer to be there during the hearing test. If hearing loss has affected your loved one’s confidence, they might not want to do things alone, especially if strangers are involved. So why not suggest you both have your hearing evaluated at the same time? This takes the focus off your parent or friend and makes the test a shared experience. You could also offer to help them find a suitable audiologist and, when the time comes, choose a hearing aid.
Respect their decision. You can’t force anyone to have a hearing test or even accept they have a problem. It generally takes 7 to 10 years for someone to address changes in their hearing. However, with gentle encouragement (not nagging!) you can hopefully inspire them to get help sooner rather than later.
How Key to Hearing can help
If your parent, friend or relative agrees to a hearing evaluation, our award-winning audiologist, Keeley Salmon, will visit them in the comfort and privacy of their own home. This can be very reassuring for people who lack social confidence and have stopped going out due to their hearing loss. Of course, you’ll be welcome to accompany your loved one during the appointment.
As an independent hearing care provider, we can give your loved one as much time as they need to carry out a thorough evaluation, discuss their ear health and answer their questions. We’ll also check for other causes of hearing loss, such as ear wax build-up and infections, which would be referable to their GP.
If they’d like to proceed with our services, we can then demonstrate and discuss the various hearing aid technologies that are suitable for treating their hearing loss.
All subsequent reviews and servicing appointments will also be carried out at home at times convenient for your loved one. We provide a choice of comprehensive aftercare packages and even offer a door to door hearing aid repair service.
For more information about the benefits of choosing Key to Hearing, please click here.
Keep communication with your loved one a two-way street.
Contact Key to Hearing today.
The last thing we want is for you and your loved one to miss out on the things you enjoy doing together. So please get in touch today to arrange a hearing evaluation. We can also offer further advice on how to successfully discuss hearing loss.
You can call us on 01202 511386, complete our enquiry form or chat to us online. We look forward to helping your loved one hear better.