Have you noticed the signs of early hearing loss in a loved one? Friends and family are often the first to notice and it can put a lot of pressure on your relationship. Hearing loss can be an emotional experience for everyone involved, but it is important to encourage your loved one to take a hearing test so they can move forward. Focus on starting the conversation in a positive way, and help them to take the next step.
Having the conversation
Choose the right place and time: It’s best to avoid accusations in the heat of the moment, as it can cause the person to become defensive. Choose a safe, familiar and quiet location in advance. You could invite them over for coffee or offer to cook dinner. Creating a comfortable environment will help to relieve any pressure they may be feeling.
Treat them with respect and compassion: Your loved one needs to be reassured, not lectured. The conversation may become tense, but you should stay calm and avoid confrontation. Let them finish their sentences and discuss their worries. This will help to calm the situation down.
Focus on the positive: The purpose of the conversation is to help your loved one get the help they need. They may be worried about getting older, wearing a hearing aid, or being judged by people. You should help calm these fears and focus on the benefits and solutions that facing the situation would bring.
Offer your support: Do some research into hearing tests and new hearing solutions, so you can let them know what to expect. Help them make an appointment and go along with them. Knowing that they have your support can help the person feel more comfortable about seeking help.
Arranging a hearing test
Around 11 million (1 in 6) people in the UK have some degree of hearing loss, so you can reassure your loved one that they are not alone. Hearing tests are easy to arrange and don’t take long. Getting treatment leads to a much higher quality of life, so the sooner they get tested, the better. Your loved one may also feel more confident once they speak to a professional audiologist and find out more about their options.
The first step is to take a quick hearing test. This screening can be done from the comfort of your own home or at your GP or local audiologist. These quick tests cannot confirm that a person definitely has hearing loss, but they can be the key to helping your loved one take the next step.
Action on Hearing Loss offer an automated hearing test over-the-phone. Your loved one won’t have to speak to anyone and the service is completely anonymous. You can call them on 0844 800 3838 (local rates apply).
Free online hearing tests are also available at the Action on Hearing Loss website or from the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists.
The next step is a full hearing test. This lasts around an hour, and can be done by your GP or audiologist. At House of Hearing, we also offer home visits, for people who are unable to travel or prefer a private test. The full test will give your loved one a full diagnosis, and introduce them to suitable treatment options.
Hearing loss is an emotional and physical journey, and families and friends play an important part along the way. Helping your loved one take a hearing test can make all the difference to their well-being. If you’d like more information or want to make an appointment, contact one of our centres and we’ll be happy to help.
House of Hearing offers hearing care at four centres in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Perth, and St Andrews. Call us on 0131 220 1220 for more information.