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      Approaching loved ones about hearing loss

      Hearing loss doesn't just your loved one, it also affects their partner, family members and friends. It may be difficult for your loved one to accept that they’re losing their hearing, so you’ll need to approach the subject in a gentle and tactful way. Convincing someone to seek help for hearing loss is the right thing to do, but is not always easy.

      Having a hearing loss can greatly affect relationships in the family and social circles. It can become frustrating repeating things over and over andbe difficult tosee a loved one isolate themselves from the people and activities they enjoy.

      What you can do:

      • Talk to your loved one about their hearing concerns. Be caring and patient, it’s common for someone to deny their hearing loss. It’s helpful to discuss how advances in technology have changed the way hearing aids look and perform.
      • Hearing loss is often gradual and so the signs can sometimes be subtle. Gently remind them of their hearing loss when you "translate" or repeat something for them. It could be that they are missing out on everyday sounds. Often it is the higher pitched sounds that tend to deteriorate first and so they may miss hearing bird song, the telephone or doorbell ring for example. Having discussions about these may prompt them to realise that they aren’t hearing them at all or as well as they could.
      • Point out that everyday scenarios such as crossing the road may be more difficult or even dangerous with not being able to hear so well.
      • Explain the importance of treating hearing loss. Some people become socially withdrawn and may avoid going out due to difficulties carrying out conversations with others in challenging listening situations.Just like exercise, hearing keeps your brain energized, therefore it is important to support a friend or family member overcome personal obstacles related to hearing loss.
      • A first step, could be taking an online hearing check which will highlight any issues and can be used as a stepping stone before seeing a specialist.
      • Encourage them to visit a hearing professional to do more research and get their questions answered. Remind them they have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by seeing a hearing professional.
      • Offer to schedule and attend a hearing consultation with them.
      • Make them aware of the benefit and availability of our Information Line contact details for information on hearing loss, tinnitus, lipreading classes and local support groups that may exist in their area. 
      • Try not to speak for your partner or leave them out of the conversation – make sure they know the conversation topic.
      • It’s also important that you don’t give up your normal social activities and carry on socialising
      • Find out more about equipment that can help your loved one, such as doorbell alerting devices and hearing loop systems, so they feel more involved. This can be the same at work. Under equality legislation, their employer must make adjustments for them (see our section on hearing loss at work.)
      • Set a good example for others to follow – speak clearly and a little slower, so your loved one can understand you and other people can see how to communicate with them effectively. Ensure your face is under good lighting to aid lipreading.
      • Encourage your partner to explain their hearing loss to friends and family once they feel comfortable.

      You could also suggest that they take our quick and easy Hearing Check.

       

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