Supporting Your Loved Ones With Hearing Loss

When living with hearing loss, you are slightly on an underadvantage with many developmental and social implications. It is no small thing and while hearing loss is common; 20 percent of the U.S. population (or roughly 50 million people) are affected by hearing loss, for an individual, developing or living with a hearing condition can be a daily task inclusion involving a range of emotions.

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For an example, children growing up with hearing loss who use hearing aids might feel they are different in school and to some might be a target of being singled out. An older person may have recently developed hearing loss, may feel nervous about being perceived differently such as being incompetent while wearing hearing aids.

When someone in your family or friends have hearing loss and is having a difficult time, there are many things you can do to support them.

Here are some ideas:

How to support someone with hearing loss

Go With Them To Get Your Hearing Checked, Too
If someone in your life has been told recently by a professional medical review or realized that he or she is developing hearing loss, going to see to the audiologist to have his or her hearing checked regularly can be a stressful and hard time to do. One way you can help calm their nerves is to offer to go along as a show of support, or, because everyone can benefit from getting their hearing checked; especially people past age 40, it would also a good idea to get yourself an appointment. This is because as we age, our chance of being affected by hearing loss starts to increase, as hearing loss is a gradual process. Depending on environmental and biological factors anyone may start to lose their hearing without even realizing it. Thus, be proactive and also get your hearing checked. Even if you really don't think you have hearing loss, this will be a great way to show solidarity to someone in your life who does.

Listen and understand
Losing a sense, of which we rely upon to interact with the physical world, is a frightening thing for someone to go through. When people start to come to terms with their hearing loss, they may often go through a process similar to grief, just as many people do for the loss of important functions. You can show support to someone that has hearing loss by being empathetic. Recognizing the grieving process often involves closing themselves off, anger, denial, guilt or low self-esteem, fear, sadness, confusion, and loneliness. Let them talk it out and vent, through the conversation you'll better understand them and be able to help them to deal with the denial, anger or sadness at the loss of their hearing. Doing this will allow them to become a more resilient person and in time come to break limitations or enjoy things with a new perspective. Some people; like this singer, who lost their hearing or others are completely hard of hearing can still feel the vibrations of music, resonating with that harmony gives them the ability to stay in tune with language and sing.

Take Up A Hobby With Them
While living with hearing loss, you can be quick to write off trying new hobbies. One of the reasons is because of feeling like they would not get the whole experience. Music is something that everyone can collectively enjoy. Never miss a beat with Miracle-Ears rechargeable hearing aids and stay jamming for longer.

Be An Advocate
One of the best ways that you can show your support is to be an advocate for your loved one who has hearing loss. At times it can be difficult for someone with hearing loss to hear everything when in a group environment, whether its a family get to together or a playgroup for children the background noise can sometimes be difficult to combat. You could try speaking with and educating other relative, friends and new encounters before events and provide them with the tips and tools for achieving a more successful communication. Emailing groups, restaurants and activity centers could be a good idea especially if it was for children as then any group leaders can make adaptations that they need. If you want to be the ultimate support when you’re there you can discreetly inform them of any information if that they happen to miss such as the punch line to the joke everyone is chuckling at. On a different level, you can check to see if places such as hotels provide rooms with equipment for hard of hearing people such as hearing loops. If they do not, you can suggest this to management as there is no harm in making suggestions to improve visits for all who may require additional support in the future.

Practice good communication skills
If you have someone that you have already started supporting then communication skills have probably already crossed your mind once or twice and the need to make sure they are tip top become a president. You already know that speaking to someone with hearing loss requires a lot more effort and attention and you are no longer able to have conversations from other rooms or have discreet conversations in crowded areas. However, one of the most meaningful pros of conversing with someone with hearing loss, for both of you, is that you're entirely focused on what you're saying to each other and it leads to some really meaningful conversations. Then, on the other hand, you can't multi-task while having a conversation because you should really be face to face with each other so the person with hearing loss can lipread if they need to, not everyone with hearing loss needs to read lips but having focus helps them to follow a conversation more easily.

Here are a few ways that you can show the person in your life with hearing loss that you value the conversations between you:

  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Do not exaggerate your voice or lip movements, just be natural.
  • Help with lipreading by not covering your mouth.
  • Make sure you have their attention politely first. Try rephrasing rather than exactly repeating what you just said.
  • If you're changing the subject, let the person know beforehand so he or she can adjust. Context helps a lot!
  • Make sure to speak in places with good lighting and little to no background noise- try turning down music and televisions.
  • Stay positive, be yourself and smile.

Do you have any other ways that you find help when you are supporting your loved ones with hearing loss? Please share them in the comments below. 

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