Having ‘the talk’
It’s not always easy for people to accept that they have problems with their hearing. Stress and denial are common. The most important thing is that you make sure they know you’re only having the conversation with them because you care and you want to help.
So here are some ideas to help you when you need to have “the talk”.
1. Ask about things you’ve noticed
Steer the conversation towards things you’ve noticed when you’re both out and about. You could ask, “Do you find it quite difficult to hear people in noisy environments?” or “I’ve noticed you don’t like going to restaurants as much anymore? Is there a reason for that?” “The TV or radio are very loud, are you having trouble hearing it?”
2. Mention how their hearing loss affects other people
They may not realise the degree of their hearing loss and be unaware you are having to change the way you interact with them. You could point this out so they are aware that their hearing loss impacts those around them.
3. Ask why they would put up with it when it can be treated
A lot of people with hearing impairment are not seeking help because of the perceived negative perceptions about hearing aids and are reliant on coping strategies such as using the television’s top volume setting. At Bay Audiology we believe all Kiwis should be able to enjoy a lifetime of healthy hearing - at home, at work and with family and friends. That means it is our job to make it affordable. Hearing aids start from $450 for a pair after the government subsidy which is available to all New Zealand citizens and permanent residents aged 16 years and over. You could try explaining to them that they wouldn’t put up with poor eyesight and that your hearing is no different.
4. Hearing aid technology has advanced
Hearing aid technology is improving at an extremely rapid rate meaning today’s hearing solutions are incredibly small, comfortable and natural sounding. We are seeing younger people seeking help as soon as they notice signs of hearing loss because the design and performance of hearing aids is no longer a deterrent.
Many hearing devices can connect to your mobile phone, land line, TV, iPOD or your computer using wireless technology. With today’s technology the possibilities are almost limitless. At Bay Audiology we work with the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers so we can always offer the latest advancements in hearing technology.
5. Hearing loss is more common than you think
One in six New Zealanders have hearing loss and it is predicted that by 2050 that will increase to one in four New Zealanders. You could also try reassuring them that hearing loss is quite a normal part of the natural aging process and they are not alone. By talking to people about hearing you are building awareness about protection and prevention while also making people with hearing loss aware that they don’t have to feel isolated or miss out. Help is available.
6. Change can be a wonderful thing
You acknowledge many people don’t like change, but some changes are fantastic. Seeing an audiologist to get their hearing checked can be life-enhancing. Many of our customers are astounded at the positive impact their new hearing devices have had on their quality of life. They often come back into clinic just to tell us that they wish they’d acted sooner!
7. Maybe give it a rest and try again later
It’s great you tried talking to them. Remember many people resist accepting the idea they have a hearing problem and put up barriers. Try again in a few weeks and they may be more receptive to the message.