Doctor's assistant encouraging senior patient in medical practice

Encourage treatment

Although it can be challenging to start the conversation of hearing loss with a loved one, especially if they are hesitant, your support is vital in helping them begin their journey to hearing well. Phonak can help you learn some empathetic and patient ways to encourage your loved one to seek treatment.


My father is happy to discuss his hearing loss since I’ve been wanting to know more.

 

Kayla DeGuire Daughter of Mr. DeGuire with severe-to-profound hearing loss

Starting the conversation

It’s important to create a comfortable environment that helps your loved one feel relaxed when having the conversation about acknowledging their hearing loss. 

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Choose the right location

Select a location that is private, comfortable, and free from background noise, so they can hear as clearly as possible during your discussion. 

Pick a good time

Choose the right moment to sit down and talk in an open manner. This will make it clear to your loved one that you are bringing it up out of care and genuine concern. 

Speak clearly

Make sure your loved one can see your face while you’re talking and speak clearly so they can fully understand you. Again, this conversation is not just about the topics you bring up, but also about their difficulty communicating. 

Show compassion

It’s common for someone to deny their hearing loss, so it’s helpful to discuss how advances in technology have changed the way hearing aids look and perform.

Communicating the importance of treatment

It's important to communicate the urgency of seeking treatment. Hearing loss affects much more than a person's ears, including their social and emotional well-being, the strength of their relationships, and their cognitive function. Additionally, there are several common myths about hearing loss that would be helpful to discuss with someone starting their better hearing journey.

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Hearing loss isn't just another part of aging

Hearing loss can be part of the natural aging process, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored. Early intervention can be instrumental in getting a person back to their life - the quality of which may have already deteriorated due to their hearing loss.

Hearing aids won’t immediately make your hearing go back to normal

Some people are frustrated when they first turn on their hearing aids because they don’t know what to expect. Wearing hearing aids won’t restore natural hearing, but it will allow your loved one to experience those missing sounds in a new way. It isn’t about full hearing restoration; it’s a new way to ensure they are participating fully in the communication and enjoyment of life. 

Hearing loss doesn’t only affect your ears

Hearing loss is more than a sensory condition, it can also lead to social withdrawal and depression. Beyond the social consequences, unchecked hearing loss can have cognitive and physical health impacts as well.1

Hearing aids don't make you look older

Most modern hearing aids are so small, they go unnoticed, and many resemble other trendy headphones and wearable technology. People of all ages wear hearing aids, and many are proud to do so. Phonak even offers hearing aids that fit inside your ear canal and are completely invisible. 

Starting treatment is easy

There are many ways to start treatment, some of which your loved one might not even realize exist. Offering your support and introducing your loved ones to these options may help them warm up to the idea of seeking professional help.

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Emphasize the ease of an online hearing test

Phonak’s online hearing assessment can be done from the comfort of your loved one’s home. This is an easy first step to help them start to evaluate their level of hearing loss without too much pressure. 

Learn about different hearing aids

Find out more about the many hearing aid options. This will help you encourage your loved one to browse the variety of choices and help them see how assistive devices can improve the quality of their lives.

Go to your loved one’s hearing evaluation appointment

Attending an appointment together is a vital part of how you can support your loved one in their hearing health journey, and it is highly encouraged by Phonak's research in the field of Family Centered Care. You can absorb the information together and discuss the next steps openly. You can also help your loved one make important decisions, help with the purchasing process of their new hearing devices, and aid in a successful experience. 

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Find a provider

Whether you’re looking for help with hearing loss or want to get started on your hearing-well journey, we can help you find a hearing care professional near you.

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The importance of empathy

For first time hearing-aid wearers, encouragement and support from family, friends, and colleagues is essential. Your patience will comfort them and help them to communicate better through the transition period. With some useful tips, you can better communicate with your loved ones who might be wearing hearing aids or experiencing hearing loss for the first time.

Be Patient

Take your time and help your loved one relax if they are having difficulty understanding you, especially if they are a little tired. Like all our senses, hearing decreases when we become weary, so patience is important.

Ensure Clarity

Keep it clear and use a normal volume when speaking. There’s no need to shout as it can cause sound distortion and discomfort. 

Pay Attention

Get your loved one’s attention when you want to have a conversation and give them your undivided attention as well. Before speaking to them, say their name or simply make a gesture. This will prepare them to listen, so they are less likely to miss certain words.

Position Yourself

The best position to communicate is to face your loved one directly. Stay relatively close, but respect personal space. If you’re too far away, they might not understand everything clearly. If your loved one has better hearing in one ear, then focus on that side but don’t speak directly into that ear. Keep it natural. 

Rephrase Words

Try using different vocabulary if they don’t hear you properly. Saying things differently will help your loved one to understanding certain things better. 

 

Footnotes:

1. Dawes, P., Cruickshanks, K. J., Fischer, M. E., Klein, B. E. K., Klein, R., & Nondahl, D. M. (2015). Hearing-aid use and long-term health outcomes: Hearing handicap, mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, physical health, and mortality. Int J Audiol, 54(11), 838–844.