Age-related hearing loss generally occurs gradually. As a result, it is often family and friends who are the first to notice the problem.
Do you have a loved one who you believe is suffering with hearing loss? Initially, you may have just giggled at their misunderstanding of words or the bizarre interpretations they come up with, but after a while, the daily miscommunication has lead to concern and frustration of having to repeat yourself.
At Hearing Sense, we often get loved ones contacting us with concerns that their parents or friends as they’ve been trying to call them on the telephone all day and they don’t answer because they “didn’t hear it ring”. Others have broken into their parents’ house after repeatedly knocking on the door, only to find them blissfully unaware in front of a loud TV.
But, quite often, because of the stigma attached to hearing loss, people don’t respond to initial prompts to have their hearing tested.
Why is there so much resistance?
First, denial. Many older adults just don’t think they have a problem. We know from research that it takes older Australians with hearing loss 7 to 10 years before they have their hearing tested, and more than 50 per cent would prefer to suffer than investigate ways to deal with their hearing loss.
There are barriers to people taking up hearing aids, but it’s important to keep encouraging loved ones to have their hearing checked.
Tips to convince loved ones to have their hearing checked
- Talk to them about the benefits of seeking help and the things they are missing out on, such as social occasions or physical activities. Reassure them that modern devices are small and the technology is simple and automatic.
- Discuss the dangers of undiagnosed hearing loss—for instance, not being able to hear properly while driving, or misinterpreting their doctor’s advice.
- Point out that annual hearing tests are recommended for everyone. Just like you have annual check-ups with your physician, and teeth cleanings with your dentist, you should have annual hearing screenings with your local hearing healthcare professional. That way, you can track your hearing ability and notice any changes that come up. Since hearing loss often occurs gradually and subtly, annual screenings are the best way to monitor changes and act on any hearing difficulties as soon as possible.
If your loved one doesn’t believe they have hearing loss, this perspective might help get them into a professional’s office. If you show them that hearing tests are for everyone, not just people who definitively have hearing loss, it could be easier to convince them to make an appointment. You can even offer to have a free hearing test at the same time as they do as a show of support.
At Hearing Sense, our professional and friendly staff can help you through this process and show your loved one that hearing loss isn’t something they should hide.
If you ever need us or want more information about hearing health or more tips on hearing tests, give us a call on 8331 8047 or drop into one of our three clinic locations. We have clinics in Norwood, Unley, and Salisbury.