Hearing loss is common, but it doesn’t feel that way for someone coming to terms with the condition.
They may struggle to deal with a variety of emotions upon being diagnosed, including sadness, anger, anxiety and confusion. There are many ways you can show a friend or family member that you are there for them during this tough time.
Get your hearing checked: Go along to the audiologist with them and get your hearing tested as well. Not only is this a great way to show support, it may help detect gradual hearing loss that you have yet to notice.
Look out for them: Advocate for them by notifying relatives of their condition before gatherings so they can adjust communication techniques. Sit next to them at social functions to help them understand what they may be unable to hear.
Don’t be an enabler: Speak directly about their hearing loss to help them understand the negative ways it affects their life. Gently remind them when you have to repeat yourself and its impact on themselves and others. Offer to schedule an audiologist appointment.
Be a good communicator: Talking to someone with hearing loss requires more concentration and effort for both individuals.
- Maintain eye contact: Face the person so they are able to speech read.
- Speak in a normal volume and manner: Do not exaggerate voice and lip movements, which can distort the message.
- Talk in a good listening environment: Converse in areas with bright lighting and few background noises. TVs should be turned off.
Be empathetic: When someone learns they have hearing loss, they could go through a grieving process of sorts. Support them by simply being there and listening to their concerns. This shows them you care and helps you understand the emotions they are experiencing.