Hearing loss is a challenge for anyone to manage. It is essential to understand that hearing loss does not just affect the person who is experiencing it but spouses, family members, and friends as well. Convincing someone with a hearing loss to seek help, especially a loved one, can also be a tremendous obstacle to overcome. If your parent is experiencing impairment in their hearing ability, it is vital that you assist and support them.
Does My Parent Have A Hearing Loss?
The first step in helping a parent manage hearing loss is to identify the problem. The hearing loss may be sudden and severe, or it may be gradual over a period. Signs that indicate potential hearing loss include:
- Difficulty understanding conversations
- Playing the radio or TV too loud
- Asking you to repeat things
- Ringing in the ears
- Discharge or bleeding from the ears
- Pressure sensation in the ear
- Dizziness and balance problems
Talking To Your Parent About Their Hearing Loss
Research is essential and the more you know about hearing loss, the better prepared you will be to help your parent. Find out what you can about hearing loss, how it might affect your parent, and what you can do to help them deal with hearing impairment. When you are ready, try these tips for talking to your parent:
- Choose a calm moment to speak to your parent. Sitting down with your parent lets them know of your concern for their safety and well being.
- Emphasize the benefits rather than the technology. When you discuss hearing loss with your parent, try to stay focused on solutions that your parent will be comfortable using instead of talking about the hearing devices available.
- Become an advocate for your parent. Be involved in their hearing care. Accompany your parent to hearing evaluations with hearing healthcare professionals and be knowledgeable about hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, and other hearing devices.
- Assemble a support team. As we age, it is not unusual for people to lose their hearing ability. Because of this, your parent likely knows someone who is experiencing a similar situation. Reach out to these people and resources such as the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) for support.
Helping Your Parent With Hearing Loss
Supporting your parent with a hearing impairment is the best way you can help them. Hearing loss does not define them so do not let it alter your relationship with your parent. By supporting them, your relationship will deepen. Try these tips as a starting point:
- Address the hearing loss. Early intervention is essential to prevent other possible health consequences. Help your parent seek medical support and the tools they need to cope with a hearing impairment.
- Be patient with your parent. If your parent is experiencing hearing loss, it is highly likely that they will ask you to repeat things. Instead of becoming annoyed, smile and be patient with your loved one.
- Pay close attention to the activities you choose. Consider what activities might not be appropriate anymore and try to find alternatives. If the two of you enjoy movies at the theatre, try watching a movie together at home where the words are more manageable for your parent to understand. However, let your parent choose as they still may enjoy going out to a movie.
- Try to avoid distracting sounds. Avoid noisy background sounds such as the TV, radio, and household appliances when communicating with your parent. It will ease communication and make it easier for your parent to focus on the actual conversation.