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Dealing With a Loved One's Hearing Loss

Sep 5, 2008
Hearing loss can be a very difficult thing to deal with, both for the person suffering from it, and those close to him or her. The difficulties for the person with hearing loss are obvious and sometimes dangerous. There are the practical difficulties associated with missing out on chunks of conversation, both personal and through media such as television and radio. There are auditory experiences that contribute to the quality of life, such as birds chirping, the rain on the roof, or the sound of your year-old grandchild. And there are the dangers of being less able to hear things like sirens, fire alarms, buzzers, and public announcements.

The difficulties for the people close to someone suffering from hearing loss aren't as obvious. There is the frustration associated with having to constantly repeat yourself and worrying for his or her safety. Often the most difficult thing turns out to be broaching the subject. Hearing loss is something - like balding and wrinkles - that is associated with getting older. But, unlike balding and wrinkles, hearing loss is a problem that can be addressed easily and often inexpensively. Hearing aids have come a long way in the lifetime of someone over fifty. The large, obtrusive devices they remember seeing men and women wearing forty years ago have more than likely left a lasting, negative impression in their minds that you need to dispel.

The first step is to explain that hearing aids today are a lot less obvious, to the point of being almost unnoticeable. Try to find someone the hearing loss sufferer knows that has a hearing aid, and perhaps ask that person if they wouldn't mind talking about their experience and demonstrating the device. (Sometimes learning from a friend or family member can be less intimidating or frightening than a medical professional) Gather some statistics about the number of people currently using hearing aids in the United States. According to the National Health Interview Survey, issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, over 35 million people in the United States report that the suffer from some degree of hearing loss, which amounts to right around 13% of the population. There are other reports and statistics out there that vary to some degree, but the numbers are always large enough to bring comfort to someone feeling ashamed of losing their hearing.

Technology hasn't only brought about a revolution in the design of hearing aids, but also access to information. Is your friend or family member still tentative about looking into hearing devices? You can find out just about anything you want to know about hearing aids online, with plenty of photos and detailed information on every brand and variety. Do some research ahead of time and try to locate some sites that have actual size images and some nice testimonials.

Another tip to getting your loved one motivated to get a hearing aid is to be completely honest about how his or her hearing loss is affecting you and other friends and family members. Explain that it is painful knowing he or she is missing out on jokes, stories, and other meaningful things that you used to share completely. Make it very clear that any perceived shame that might come with wearing a hearing aid will be far outweighed by the improved quality of life that comes with being able to clearly hear the conversations of loved ones, as well as all the other sounds that make up such a huge, meaningful part of being alive.
About the Author
Gemma-Leigh Garner is a freelance copywriter and blogger that writes on many different health subjects such as hearing loss and digital hearing aid technology and other health related current events.
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