We understand how lonely it can be for a person with a hearing loss, but it can be equally lonely for their loved ones because of the inability to communicate and be quickly understood.

There are ways to make communication a bit easier – especially during an important celebration in a time when families like to get together and share their stories. We’ll share these tips below.

Why Do People Have An Untreated Hearing Loss?

It’s not easy for a lot of people to come to terms with the possibility of a hearing loss because of the stigma attached, which makes them believe they’re old or incompetent. In their mind, it’s a sign of weakness, and they’d rather not ask for help and make it obvious.

This outdated stigma is far from reality – since anyone at any age can get a hearing loss, and we like to see it as a sign of a life well lived, whatever the circumstance.

Your loved one might also be unaware of how much hearing technology has advanced in the last few decades, to where hearing aids are almost invisible and very easy to use nowadays. Were they to wear some, it’s highly possible no one would even know they are wearing hearing aids.

Others avoid getting help because they are afraid of the financial outlay, not knowing what the investment really entails (and it’s not all to do with hearing). We also offer many financing options for those with this concern.

What Are The Effects Of Untreated Hearing Loss?

Another reason for their delay is that they don’t know how detrimental delaying treatment can be, with multiple reports of cognitive decline, depression, medical issues, and further degeneration of the auditory system.

The thing is that loved ones are the first ones to notice a hearing loss in a relative, so it’s not like they are managing to hide anything. In reality, they are making communication more difficult and even fracturing some relationships due to their unwillingness to get their hearing checked and treated.

Most people begin to withdraw from any type of conversation at work, at home, or in a social setting, choosing to sit alone rather than feel the embarrassment of not understanding or having to ask people to keep repeating themselves.

This then causes cognitive decline because without conversations to keep their brains active, their auditory system and cognitive ability starts to decline further.

Some become depressed and anxious about any type of interaction, and their mental health declines. This is why loneliness is so heavily linked to untreated hearing loss – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

All of this is avoidable with the right hearing treatment.

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How Can You Help A Loved One With A Hearing Loss?

Sensitivity – When you talk with a loved one about their hearing loss, keep in mind that it’s likely a very sensitive issue for them. A lot of emotions are wrapped up in the idea of having a permanent hearing loss, including the fear that they might never hear properly again.

Education – Educating yourself on exactly what’s involved when it comes to getting help will help a lot because you’ll be able to help and give advice based on your newfound knowledge. You’ll be able to explain the benefits of regular testing and share success stories you’ve read about.

Support – Your support can make a huge difference in encouraging them to come see us before the holiday season arrives, especially if you offer to come with them and get a hearing test yourself. Highlight the benefits of being able to hear their family members around the table once again should they get the help they need before the season begins.

Gifts – And if you’re wondering what to buy them for a holiday gift, hearing technology would be a great gift – or a hearing aid accessory for additional support, or even an upgrade, if they already have hearing aids.

Accommodating For Their Hearing Loss During The Holidays

Sadly, some loved ones will refuse point blank to get any hearing help, or they will have other circumstances that prevent them from seeing an audiologist this year. But there are still some things you can do to help them hear better over the holidays.

  • If they sit with their back against a wall, there will be less background noise bothering them.
  • Play music quietly and point any speakers away from them.
  • Encourage them to join conversations with you at their side as a repeater or elaborator of what’s being said.
  • Let everyone else know how helpful it is to show their face in full light while they’re talking, and tell them to speak slowly and to enunciate their words clearly. This makes it easier for the person with a hearing loss to get visual cues and lip read.

What Should Your Loved One Do If Concerned About Hearing Loss?

The good news is that if your loved one is talking about their hearing loss, they are very close to getting the right treatment for it, and because you’re in a position to support them, you can help them with the first step of a hearing assessment.

Book a comprehensive hearing assessment so we can assess the level and type of hearing loss and talk about the hearing treatment options available. We have four locations in Gold Country, so we’re sure to have one near you.

Contact us with any questions or concerns, or request a callback. We look forward to helping your loved one maximize their hearing.

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Tracy Volkman , Au.D.

Dr. Tracy Volkman believes investing in the lives of her patients is the key to meeting their communication needs. She is committed to helping them find the best solution to improve their hearing and improve their quality of life. Tracy graduated from CSU Sacramento with a Master’s Degree in 2003 and earned her Doctorate degree in Audiology from A.T. Still University, School of Health Sciences in 2011.