My loved love is unaware of his or her hearing loss
Caring for a loved one with hearing loss can be both frustrating and emotionally draining process. Especially with the high rates of presbycusis or age-related hearing loss in Malaysia, there have been increased reports of family members having to constantly repeat themselves, tolerate the television or radio with the volume turned up and to help interpret speech on the phone and in noisy areas to assist their loved ones. It may get even more frustrating when a loved one with hearing loss resists help or brushes off any concerns with regards to his or her hearing.
Here are some tips on how you can help your loved one:
Example: Your loved one may think struggling to understand speech or playing the TV really loud is normal.
Learn about hearing loss by reading up on it so you can get tips on how to help your loved one.
Express your concerns to your love one. Remember to show your love and support while you are doing so.
Ask your loved one about situations where he struggled to hear conversation and ask other family members present if they struggle to hear in the same situation.
Accompany your loved one to do a hearing check up with an audiologist
My loved one is unable to accept his or her hearing loss
Example: Your loved one is fully aware of his or her struggles with hearing but is unwilling to accept and talk about his or her hearing loss.
Understand that many individual with hearing loss has to undergo an initial denial phase. This is coping mechanism where the individual is able to give his or herself time to face and overcome fears, self-doubt or misconceptions towards hearing loss (e.g., association hearing loss and ageing).
Your loved one may hear well in some situations and not others, so it is important to emphasise the difference between hearing and hearing conversations clearly.
Take your loved ones to see an audiologist at our centre Audiologists are trained to counsel and guide individuals with hearing loss accept and seek help, however it is important to give your loved one time and take at least 1-3 sessions with the audiologist.
My loved one knows he or she has a hearing loss but is unwilling to seek hearing solutions or rehabilitation
Example: Your loved one refuses to wear hearing aids even after being diagnosed and prescribed hearing aids.
Take loved one to see the different hearing aid models. Even to individuals with hearing loss, hearing aids may carry a stigma, they may associate it with weakness or ageing. Hearing aids have been getting smaller and less visible throughout the years
Money may be an issue, ask your audiologist about all the payment options and financial assistance.
Show them the pros and cons of not seeking help. Untreated hearing loss individuals face:
Higher risk of falling (hyperlink to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2655032/)
o Five times higher risk of getting dementia (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/802291)
o Risk of social anxiety and depression (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119616)
o Decline in memory for speech (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724980443000151)
Remember when seeking help for your loved one, it is important to assure your loved one you are seeking help for them out of love and concern and not out of frustration.