When one person has hearing loss, their entire family is affected by it. Talking over a game plan to handle it, can improve communication and make the experience of hearing loss much less frustrating and problematic for everyone who is involved. Let your needs be known to your family.
1. Disclose Your Hearing Loss
It’s important to tell your immediate family that you are having trouble with hearing. Be transparent about what you grapple with on a daily basis. This will let them know what you need, repeat things if necessary and explain anything that was misheard. Be honest and accepting in order to foster a healthy relationship with each other.
2. Describe Your Hearing Loss Experience to Others
It is complicated to fully understand what hearing loss is like if you’ve never experienced it. You might need to explain what your hearing loss experience is like, many times, in a number of different environments in order to give an accurate depiction. Maybe you can suggest that your family members wear earplugs next time they all sit and talk during a family meal. Although it won’t be a completely accurate portrayal of what hearing loss is like (the distortion won’t be replicated), it will give them a general understanding of how some people experience hearing loss.
3. Bring Your Family to Your next Appointment
Learning about the results of your hearing test and how severe your hearing loss is from an expert, could help them better understand your hearing loss and the challenges you endure. Your family will also help your hearing healthcare provider get a better understanding of how you communicate with one another and what environments are most problematic for you. This will help with treatment and how your hearing aid is programmed by your provider.
4. Be open about how You are feeling in regards to Your Hearing Loss
Do not continue to carry one as usual and ignore how you are feeling about your hearing loss. If you disclose how dissatisfied or depressed you are about your hearing loss, your family can grow closer. Being vulnerable is a step in the right direction. Feelings of fatigue are a common result of hearing loss. Your brain is trying to comprehend and piece together what is being said in conversations. Let your family members know when you are feeling too tired.
5. Get rid of the Stigma
If you show how comfortable you are with your hearing difficulties, those around you will be comfortable too. You may be living with someone who has hearing loss, but nobody discusses it. Turning this into a taboo subject prevents that person from getting help, while making their disability a normal part of your family’s life.
6. For Family Members, Practice Good Communication Techniques
It can be as simple as getting your hearing impaired family member’s attention prior to speaking to them. Always keep your mouth uncovered, and face the person with hearing loss. They may rely on lip-reading, facial cues, or hand gestures in order to get a fuller idea of the message that is being conveyed. Ask your family member with hearing loss what they need in order to help them hear you at an optimal level. Be very specific so that they understand what you need and don’t wind up shouting or talking directly into your ear when they speak.
7. Ask Family Members to Advocate for You
You’ll feel a strong support and bond with your family when they find a movie theater that offers captions or a theatre that offers telecoil technology. Their help will allow you to preserve your energy to enjoy your outing or use it to advocate for other things that you may encounter.
8. Use a Signal if You were Unable to Hear Something
A visual signal can be just as useful as saying “What?”, and this won’t stop the flow of the discussion. It can also reduce the amount of frustration that others feel when you ask them to repeat themselves.
9. Try out Different Technology
Have your family test out new assistive listening devices with you, in order to find out if they make it easier to communicate with each other. This could be entertaining for anyone in the family who is tech-savvy.
10. Get You Family Involved with the Hearing Loss Community
Have them walk or volunteer alongside you at a Walk4Hearing event, or any other hearing loss related fundraiser. When they educate themselves about hearing loss, they can have a better understanding about your experience and help you with whatever challenges may arise.
11. Have a Sense of Humor About Things
You will mishear words, so don’t take it too seriously when it happens. Some of it can be very funny. Crack some jokes, and keep things light throughout your journey of creating a family support system.
Your family can help you create a strong foundation of support and strengthen your relationships with each other. Remember to be honest with them, ask them to repeat or clarify when necessary, and involve them in your self-advocacy efforts.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.