Hearing loss generally happens gradually over a long period of time. Often, the subtle, and not so subtle, signs of hearing difficulty are more apparent to significant partners than it is to the person with the hearing loss.
Do you notice that someone you love is turning the television louder than others prefer, that conversation on the telephone is difficult, that they answered a question that wasn’t asked or that they frequently need words repeated for clarity?
For a variety of reasons - financial concerns about the cost of hearing aids, self-image, acceptance of aging, vanity, etc. - we often hear of those who are reluctant to receive an audiologic evaluation. It can be a tough conversation to have with a loved one. Hopefully, these tips will help!
- Suggest a Hearing Screening
Start with encouraging your loved one to “just” a screening and let the audiologist handle the recommendations from there. Or, suggest your loved one to have a hearing screening at his/her primary physicians office as part of a routine annual physical.
- Schedule Back to Back Hearing Tests
Having a loved one or trusted person tag along and share the same experience can be reassuring. It’s also a second set of ears to remember what the audiologist said and help provide any recommendations.
- Kindly Speak Up
Let your loved one know that:
- You have to raise your voice for him/her to hear you.
- The television volume is uncomfortably loud.
- You notice he/she frequently asks people to repeat themselves or misunderstand what was said.
- You don’t want to have to raise your voice to be heard (no one likes to feel as if they are “raising their voice” to a loved one.
- Discuss the Unfortunate Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
- On average, people with hearing loss wait over seven years before they visit a hearing healthcare professional to address the issue.
- Untreated hearing loss has been linked to other health concerns such as dementia and depression.
- A person’s quality of life can decline. He/she may no longer enjoy social events due to noisy environments, making it more difficult to hear. Your loved one may begin to decline social invitations or stop attending his/her place of worship. When someone struggles to fully engage with others, relationships become strained, and feelings of isolation can worsen and lead to depression.
- The Longer You Wait, the Harder the Adjustment Process Can Be
In most cases, untreated hearing loss worsens over time. We know that early detection and treatment of many health problems improves the prognosis. The same is true with for those experiencing hearing loss.
An unused or under-used auditory pathway can change the ability to recognize speech sounds clearly. We need to keep the auditory system and brain stimulated. When the brain becomes accustomed to not fully processing words and sounds, the ability to do so can decline over time. Research also shows that untreated hearing loss actually causes brain tissue to shrink.
- I Know They Want to SELL Me Something!
The audiologists at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center are licensed professional audiologists, not hearing aid dealers. While we do sell and dispense hearing aids as part of appropriate care, our salaries remain the same every week. There is no financial incentive or commission offered to staff. We won’t “sell” you more than you need.
- I Can’t Afford a Hearing Aid!
We believe there is no “best” hearing aid, only the hearing aid that’s “best” for you! We dispense a wide variety of products from the top manufacturers to meet each person’s needs and budget.
Financial help is available for Cuyahoga County residents through our Audiology Patient Assistance (APA) grant funded program. We also accept Care Credit, a health care credit card and offer some interest free plans. Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center also accepts many insurance plans. Call any of our offices and ask!
- Wearing a Hearing Aid Will Make Me Look Old!
People often express a concern that wearing a hearing aid will make look “old” or because they don’t want others to view them differently. Some people worry that colleagues, customers or supervisors in the workplace will see them as disabled or less capable. However, misunderstanding or missing what someone said or asking others to frequently repeat themselves is also pretty obvious. Others may even begin to avoid conversation with the person with hearing loss you because it’s “too hard”. Missing out on the news of your grandchild soccer goal or the birth of your newest grandchild is worse than wearing a device.
Today’s hearing aid styles offer different levels of visibility and performance. The audiologist will work with you and your loved one to find the style and product that meets their needs!