Communication is the defining feature of our relationships. In a very basic sense, what it means have a relationship with someone is to “relate” through communication. Of the many ways that you can build a relationship with your loved ones is to talk about their health and wellness. You can check in about known health concerns and also ask about new symptoms as they arise. If your loved one has a health issue it is important to get all the information as soon as possible, making it possible to connect with the right caregivers. If you notice any issues, you can also start a conversation about what you observe. For instance, if you see a new mobility issue, it is a great idea to inquire if your loved one is having any pain or tension that can benefit from treatment. Hearing loss is no different. When you ask about your loved one’s hearing ability, you are not only making it possible to connect with treatment but also to build a stronger, more trusting relationship. Let’s take a moment to look at the way you can talk with your loved ones about hearing loss, as well as the benefits that you can expect when you open that conversation.
How to Talk about Hearing Loss
Just as many other health conditions, hearing loss can be a sensitive subject. Not only are our bodily abilities a challenge to our sense of independence and identity, but we are also cautious about what they can say to others about our futures. Some people think of hearing loss as a sign of aging. In fact, hearing loss is possible at any age, but it is true that many people develop hearing loss as a natural part of the aging process. If you are ready to open a conversation about hearing loss, keep in mind the possible sensitivity you might encounter. Rather than immediately suggesting treatment, it is important to begin with open questions about your loved one’s experience. You might begin by asking if they have had any issues with communication lately. While avoiding an accusatory tone, you might want to reference a specific incident that seemed to make communication difficult. It is always possible that your loved one will dodge the issue or deny that there was any problem at all. However, you might find that your loved one has been waiting for the opportunity to talk about it. It can be difficult to raise an issue like hearing loss, and you can make it possible to learn more about this condition simply by opening the door. If you are met with resistance to the conversation, don’t worry about pushing your loved one. It might take a number of conversations to get to a point of connection and open communication.
The Benefits of Talking about Hearing Loss
When you begin this communication process, several benefits are in store. First of all, you are finding a new way to connect with your loved one. The disclosure of our experiences is a way to build trust. When your loved one lets you know that hearing loss is becoming an issue, that conversation is a way to become vulnerable and to entrust that you will not be judgmental about what you learn. This process of back-and-forth confirmation of trust is a powerful way to connect and strengthen your relationship. In addition to the benefits for your relationship, communicating about hearing loss is a way to start the process of seeking treatment. If you ask your loved one about hearing loss and learn that it is becoming an issue, you can take the opportunity to help schedule a hearing test. This diagnostic analysis is the first step toward getting help. Our hearing health professionals will guide your loved one through the process of understanding the nature of hearing loss to connecting with hearing aids or other assistive technology to meet their needs. Hearing aid technology has come a long way, and you might be surprised how much they can do to not only assist hearing but also to integrate with other listening aspects of life. The conversation is the first step, so don’t put off talking with your loved one about hearing loss!