Hearing loss is a deeply personal topic for many people. When you can’t hear well and have to rely on technology and accommodations from others in order to communicate, it can make you feel like you’ve lost your independence and autonomy. In addition, feeling like you’re missing out on conversations never feels good, no matter what your hearing ability is. If you want to talk to your loved one about their hearing loss, below are some tips for navigating the conversation.
Choose the Right Time & Place
It may be tempting to bring up your loved one’s hearing loss whenever it is relevant, such as when they ask you to repeat yourself, but in many cases, this is the worst time to talk about it. If your loved one feels vulnerable already, bringing up a sensitive topic may make them feel angry, defensive or self-conscious.
Instead, opt for a private, quiet place to talk. Not only is this environment ideal for someone with hearing loss to understand what you’re saying, they won’t feel embarrassed or called out in front of others. Create a comfortable space that will appeal to the person you’re conversing with.
In order to come across as compassionate, it’s important that you have the conversation out of love rather than frustration. Do not interrupt when they are talking, and don’t patronize or be condescending. The conversation will run more smoothly if you assume they know about their condition rather than telling them what you think is wrong. And while it’s true that living with someone with untreated hearing loss can feel frustrating, remember it is not about you. Emphasize that you are concerned about their health and wellbeing, not your convenience.
Let your loved one know that they don’t have to face hearing loss alone. Offer to go with them to the hearing test and fitting appointments, and be sure to follow through. Let them know that you are a team and you’re willing to take the journey with them.
For more information about the hearing rehabilitation process or to learn communication tips, contact the experts at San Francisco Audiology today.