Caring for a Loved One With Hearing Loss
Sometimes, love can put you in tough situations, and when someone you love begins to show signs of hearing loss things can get tougher than ever. When people lose their hearing, they are often in a type of denial, and even once they’ve accepted their loss, they’re often reluctant to investigate treatment options, so the first thing you need to do is:
Ensure that treatment options are explored
Make sure that your loved one visits a hearing center in order to determine if anything can be done to help them hear better. That’s particularly difficult to do when you’re caring for an elder. Try making an appointment for them and telling them calmly but firmly that they will be going. Point out the importance of checking whether anything can be done to limit the impact of hearing loss on their lives.
A good hearing specialist will be able to tell you if there are things you can do to help accustom your loved one to any devices that might be used to improve his or her hearing. Find out what you can do to make things easier for them.
What if they still can’t hear well or the damage is permanent?
Think about it from your loved one’s perspective. All of a sudden, they’ve been thrust into a lonely world where the simple act of communication with other human beings becomes a difficult and even embarrassing problem. Think of the psychological implications. You may find that the person shows their feelings of isolation and loss by becoming withdrawn, depressed and avoiding interaction with others. What can you do?
Find ways to show your love and support. Look for ways to improve your communication with the person who is suffering from hearing loss and keep family and close friends informed so that they can use your techniques too. Depending on how profound the hearing loss is, you may have to help out with simple tasks like answering the phone and stay close during times when the hearing impaired person is in situations where they have to deal with strangers who may not understand their problem.
Face the person when you are speaking them and try to limit background noises that could interfere with their hearing. Whatever you do, don’t shout! Speak clearly, a little more slowly than usual and a little more loudly, but don’t yell. If you need to repeat yourself, try using different words. A pen and paper should be used as a last resort. Although there may be times when you feel impatient, don’t allow it to show. The person who is trying to hear you is probably more frustrated than you are!
Don’t help out with things they can do for themselves
This yet another tough situation to deal with, but the hearing impaired person should become accustomed to dealing with day-to-day situations. This will help them to build their confidence and become as independent as possible.
Helping out with things that they’re afraid to try but could possibly do for themselves isn’t doing your hearing impaired loved one a favour. You’ll just make them more nervous of dealing with other people and more dependent on you. When you aren’t around, they will feel isolated and even panic stricken. The more things your loved one can do for him or herself, the better it is for them.