It’s awkward, isn’t it? One of your loved ones is clearly losing their hearing, but how do you approach such a sensitive matter without offending them?!
The key is to avoid clichés and get straight to the things they care about. Here are a few ideas for different personality types:
The party animal
This person lives to party! They’re always out socialising, going to dinner parties, bars, they live for gossip and for fun. Hearing loss, if untreated, will actively reduce this enjoyment. They’ll start to miss what people have said and communication barriers will rise. In fact, noisy backgrounds make it even harder for people to hear, so they may even find their beloved partying ways dwindle to a sad end if they don’t seek help.
This person has a one-liner for every occasion and making people laugh is what they live for. As well all know, in comedy, timing is crucial. Landing a joke at the right time is much more difficult when you can’t quite hear what others are saying around you.
The movie nerd
This person likes nothing more than an immersive night at the movies. They have the latest surround sound bar at home, subwoofers under the couch and spend Saturday nights hooked on the latest movie releases. The trouble is, no matter how good the sound is at the movies or how high-tech their home sound system is, hearing loss will really reduce the full movie experience.
Even if the person you love doesn’t fit the above personality types, chances are there is something about them that will be compromised if hearing loss is left untreated. As an audiologist and someone who has seen many personal journeys, my advice is:
- Be sensitive as to when you bring it up
- Gently let them know you have noticed a change – don’t joke about it
- Ask questions, e.g. “do you think you are listening to the TV louder lately?”
- Be supportive and interested when they take the steps to change