Thursday, December 6, 2012

What to do when someone resists getting hearing aids

We are often asked how to encourage loved ones to seek hearing help, especially hearing aids. Often those with hearing loss resist seeking treatment.  We know that dealing with and accepting hearing loss is difficult for some people. 

There are many reasons why people deny hearing trouble. For some it is fear of the unknown or of aging.  For others it is denial or lack of awareness of the problem.  After all, if you don’t hear something, you don’t always know you missed it. Simply ignoring hearing loss can lead to withdrawal, isolation and depression.

Some people respond well to encouragement of loved ones.  For others pointing out the negative impact on quality of life and physical health can motivate them into action. While others do not take the suggestion well, become angry and more resistant to help. For this group, tough love may be the answer.  

The Better Hearing Institute suggests the following for those who are resistant to seeking help:

1. Don’t repeat yourself. Allow your loved one the opportunity to realize the significance of their hearing loss. Do not stop helping though. All you do is preface what you repeat by saying each time, “Hearing Help!” or some other identifier. In a short amount of time, your loved ones will realize how often you say this. In turn, they will come to realize how often they depend on you. (This suggestion is only for a loved one who resists the idea of getting any help).

2. Stop raising your voice. Raising your voice stresses your throat and vocal chords.

3. Stop being the messenger carrying the communication load for the family. Do not tell your loved one “He said” and “She said” when he or she needs to be responsible for getting this information directly from the source.

4. Do not engage in conversation from another room as tempting as this is and as convenient as it appears. This sets up you up for communication failure.

5. Create a telephone need. Stop being the interpreter on the telephone. Allow your loved one to struggle in order to recognize how much help is needed.

The hope is that the loved ones will realize what they are missing and recognize they need help.  At this point call and schedule a hearing evaluation.

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, AuD
Paula Webster, MA

Advanced Audiology Concepts
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060

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