If you suspect your spouse, parent, or another loved one is experiencing hearing loss, you’re not alone. In the United States, hearing loss is a common problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 16 percent of American adults have hearing loss.

As the loved one of a person with hearing loss, you’re probably eager for a solution. You may be dealing with your own feelings of frustration from the strain hearing loss has put on the relationship. Also, the fact that you’re reading this shows you’re concerned about the impact hearing loss is having on your loved one.

At our hearing center, I have spoken with many people in your situation and with their loved ones who are experiencing hearing loss. I have learned how hearing loss impacts people experiencing it and how it affects the people closest to them. My experience as an audiologist, and these conversations have given me a unique perspective on helping a loved one with hearing loss. Now I’m sharing what I’ve learned to support people outside of our practice.

 

Consider Your Loved One’s Feelings

It’s natural for you to be hurt or frustrated by the miscommunication that hearing loss can cause. Your own feelings can make it challenging to provide the empathy your loved one needs. Yet it’s usually the empathy of a relative or friend that compels someone with a hearing loss to address it.

To be more empathetic, it’s often helpful to know what emotions are typical for someone who has begun to lose their hearing. Your loved one may be feeling angry, depressed, or frustrated. Untreated hearing loss frequently leads to increasing social isolation, which in turn can intensify your loved one’s negative feelings.

 

Change Your Communication Style

You can reduce miscommunication by adjusting the way you communicate with your loved one. You may have to offer a light tap on the shoulder to get their attention. Always face your loved one when speaking. Turn down the television or radio. Here’s a link to other tips I have for communicating with someone experiencing hearing loss.

 

Do Your Homework

Before you start a discussion about visiting a hearing professional, you may want to think about what objections your loved one may raise. You’ll be prepared for those objections if you do your research before bringing up the topic. For instance, if your loved one always has given extra attention to his or her appearance, the objection may be that hearing aids are bulky and unattractive. Since you’ve already found out today’s hearing aids are smaller and much more discrete than the ones your grandparents may have had, you can share that.

 

Have a Caring Conversation

It’s essential to choose the right time to have a conversation about addressing your loved one’s hearing loss. A good time would be when both of you are in a good mood, and you’re not likely to be rushed or interrupted.

Starting the conversation with things you’ve noticed may prevent your loved one from developing a posture of defensiveness. For example, you may point out that your loved one has begun to make frequent requests for others to repeat themselves. Perhaps you’ve observed your loved one turns the television volume up louder than before.

You may also want to bring up your concerns about the things your loved one is missing. You may have noticed your loved one is struggling to participate in conversations at social gatherings. Besides, it may be beneficial to mention you’re concerned about the negative health consequences of untreated hearing loss. Left untreated, hearing loss is associated with increased risks for adverse outcomes such as falls and dementia.

Some people are motivated to seek help when you make them aware their hearing loss has a negative impact on the people they love. Knowing that young grandchildren have complained that your loved one didn’t respond to them could push your loved one into action. Perhaps you could mention your concern that such a loud television could harm the grandchildren’s hearing.

 

Recommend a Hearing Evaluation

Hopefully, your loved one will be receptive to your suggestion to schedule a hearing test. Offering to accompany your loved one to the hearing center may reduce anxiety. Many people overcome resistance to a hearing assessment by scheduling a hearing evaluation for themselves and their loved ones. At your joint appointment, your loved one can see there’s nothing to fear if you have your hearing test first.

Supporting a loved one with hearing loss can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our hearing center. Our caring hearing professionals will conduct a comprehensive assessment. After establishing your loved one’s hearing needs, we can create a treatment plan that can improve your loved one’s quality of life and your own.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.
    Staff at North Houston Hearing Solutions are amazing. They are always very attentive…

    “Staff at North Houston Hearing Solutions are amazing. They are always very attentive. Dr Lacey Robinson always takes the time to set my hearing aids exactly the way I want them. I have been a patient since 2008 and will continue to be for as long as they will have me”
    Brian Becvar

    I have been a patient of Dr Lacey’s for four years and she has been the best for me...

    “I have been a patient of Dr Lacey’s for four years and she has been the best for me. She always treats me with respect. I would not consider going anywhere else. She is friendly and always has my best interest in her mind. All the staff is exceptional aswell”
    Dan Payne

    I have been seeing Dr Lacey Robinson at North Houston Hearing Solutions since November 2014. I have been very happy with the service....

    “I have been seeing Dr Lacey Robinson at North Houston Hearing Solutions since November 2014. I have been very happy with the service she and her associates have provided me. She is always willing to help me out even on short notice. I am very happy to have her as my audiologist. She goes the extra mile to ensure I am hearing like I should. Thank you Lacey!”
    Daniel Feuerbach

    Very professional, very friendly, very concerned with your total quality of life…

    “Very professional, very friendly, very concerned with your total quality of life. The hearing aids have reduced the stress in my marriage. We can now agree on the volume on the tv”
    Dennis Agnelly

    The people in the office are very nice and helpful. I love Drs, they are ready to take care of yo…

    “The people in the office are very nice and helpful. I love Drs, they are ready to take care of you even if you don’t have an appointment. I would recommend for anyone who has hearing needs”
    Florangela Ceballos

    I felt that the audiologist and other staff were always on top of the service I receive...

    “I have been coming to North Houston Hearing Solutions since they moved into the new building. Over the years I have purchased several hearing aids. I have only had great service during all the times. I felt that the audiologist and other staff were always on top of the service I receive. From calling to remind me that it is time to check my hearing aid to helping wade through the insurance paperwork, they were always as nice as can be. I would go nowhere else for hearing aids and the service”
    Marla Lingle

    Dr Lacey has kept me in ears (hearing aids) allowing me to hear without anyone knowing I have hearing aids in place...

    “I’ve been coming to North Houston Hearing Solutions for 5 years now. Dr Lacey has kept me in ears (hearing aids) allowing me to hear without anyone knowing I have hearing aids in place. She has been great and the staff has exceeded my expectations”
    Robert Bush

    I love coming here for doctors visits. Dr Robinson is a great doctor and I enjoy our visits...

    “I love coming here for doctors visits. Dr Robinson is a great doctor and I enjoy our visits. As usual she takes good care of us. The hearing aid is great and we are always treated great”
    Ronald Novotny