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Ways to help a loved one with hearing loss

18 Ways to help a loved one with hearing loss

Published 16-07-2019
Last Updated 18-07-2019

If someone close to you is living with a hearing loss and reluctant to find the help they need, you can be the catalyst to help them take their hearing back. 
Hearing loss can be a touchy subject for some, but is doesn’t have to be. A loss of hearing is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about, it’s completely natural and is only becoming more and more common. We continually strive to make hearing health something that everyone can feel comfortable talking about, so here are 18 ways to help a loved one as they wrestle with hearing loss. 

A loved one isn’t just your significant other, it can also include your parents, grandparents, or even just a friend you’re looking out for. If there’s someone in your life that is having trouble with their hearing, encourage them to get a professional opinion from a specialist. At the very least, you can shower your loved one with praise, positive affirmations, and TLC.   

You can help your loved one actively take steps to improve their hearing that will make a lasting difference in their overall quality of life. One of the first ways would be recommending the use of hearing aids. Modern technology has come a long way in helping others take back their hearing and is only getting better. 

Here are some of the other ways you can help a loved one with hearing loss feel more comfortable:

1. Face the person directly when you talk to them.

Face-to-face conversation makes it very clear who you’re talking to. For individuals with a profound hearing loss, the ability to use lip movement for added context is warmly welcomed. 

2. Inform them if they miss something.

A dialogue that jumps around is hard to follow. Alert them when the conversation changes if you think they may have missed the switch. Better a friendly reminder than shrugging it off or ending the conversation.

3. Don't start talking from another room.

Avoid trying to initiate a conversation from another room or hallway. It’s common have trouble locating and localizing the direction a sound is coming from. 

4. Rephrase what you said if needed.

If a specific word or phrase is not being heard correctly, rather than raise your voice or give up, try rewording the original statement. 

5. Don’t shout.

Shouting actually distorts the words and can also be perceived as rude or angry by some. Rather than yelling, try rephrasing your sentence to add more context. 

6. Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation.

Getting someone’s attention before speaking to them is always important, but even more so for those of us with hearing loss. Engage them in the conversation by using their first name. Never assume someone can hear what you told them.

7. Speak naturally.

Speaking too slowly may make some individuals feel like their being patronized and lead to an uncomfortable interaction. Comparatively, speaking too fast can lead to a potential miscommunication.

8. Reduce the background noise.

In public setting, there is often noise in the background competing with your voice. In such cases, it is even more important to speak to the person face-to-face. If the place you’re at is just too loud, you may want to suggest moving to another setting.

9. Don't get frustrated.

Smile. Maintain a sense of humor, stay positive and relaxed.

10. Use hand gestures.

Communicate your point better using non-verbal communication. We can express the emotion of the message with non-verbal elements of conversation (facial expressions, gestures, and posture) often even more than the words themselves.

11. Be understanding.

This one’s important. Have patience and above all, do not get upset when someone asks you to repeat something or asks, “What?” 

“Strangers may not always remember what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.” 

12. Know when they’re tired.

Hearing loss can be draining. A tired person has to work harder to understand what you’re saying. If a conversation is lasting a long time, take a break. 

13. Consider other methods of communication.

Texting and emailing have grown to be extremely helpful for families and businesses to ensure that everyone is part of the conversation. Visual communication is key. 

14. Take an online hearing test.

Ease into the conversation with something anyone can do from their laptop or phone. If you think you or your partner have a hearing loss, try our online hearing test!

15. Understand that the hearing aid stigma is real.

It's not always easy for someone to look past the visual element of hearing aids. While many hearing aid users take great pride in them, others are less enthused about needing a little extra help. A lack of wanting to look older can create a denial that serves as defense mechanisms that prevent your loved one from getting help. 

16. Look up hearing loss support groups in your community, or online.

Both on Facebook and in local communities, there are groups that help others learn to accept and live with their hearing loss. If your friend or loved one is experiencing social isolation or depression related to hearing loss, these groups can be a helpful outlet.

17. Have an honest talk about their hearing loss.

A nudge in the right direction shows them that you care. If you’re feeling like a hearing loss enabler, take action here - and see how you can come together.

18. Go with them and have your hearing tested too. 

After years of being together, your voice is their anchor. That’s why audiologists and marriage counselors alike agree that couples that come in together see higher rates of success when there is another person to reinforce the message after the visit. 

Scheduling a visit to a hearing clinic is the first step. Make the effort together. Your local audiologist or hearing aid professional is equipped to handle and explain the objections and hesitations your loved one may have. Use our clinic locator to find a clinic near you - and remember - the couples that hear together, stay together!!

Not yet ready to come into a clinic just yet? That’s alright. Read more information on hearing aids. Find the model with the right mix of features, discreteness, and performance. Browse hearing aid types here.