There are many social stereotypes linked to hearing loss, which can make it a difficult subject to talk about, even with people closest to you.
If you’ve noticed that a loved one is struggling with their hearing, trying to bring the subject up without offending can be difficult – it’s a sensitive subject. In the long term, talking to someone about their hearing loss is the best way forward, but it can take a little reassurance and encouragement to start exploring all the options that are now available to them.
Why should we talk about hearing loss?
As tricky as it can be, it is really important that we talk about hearing loss. Not only will these conversations begin to destigmatise the topic, but they will help those living with undiagnosed hearing loss take the first steps in dealing with it.
As surprising as it may sound, many people live with mild hearing loss for as long as seven years without doing anything about it.
And as for us, we may begin to make small lifestyle adjustments rather than approaching the subject, such as speaking more loudly, facing the person you are talking to and turning up the television, making certain situations more manageable for the time being. This can go on and on until it seems completely normal, all whilst the other person’s hearing is deteriorating.
It’s important to make the other person aware of the situation as early as possible so that their hearing can be preserved and the risk of further health complications, such as depression and dementia, are reduced.
Now you know the why, let’s look at the how.
How to start the conversation about hearing loss
With a little understanding and empathy, it becomes easier to bring up the subject. As a starting point, here are a few tips for approaching the conversation: