Hearing loss attacks one in ten Americans. It not only affects the hard-of-hearing person, it impacts the entire family. It’s frustrating when you talk to someone and you have to repeat what you’ve said. Conversation gets interrupted and there’s a breakdown in the spontaneity of these conversations. Sometimes you decide that what you just said is not worth repeating. You find yourself saying, “Never mind,” more often causing your loved one to feel left out. Simple statements and questions begin to substitute the longer, more interesting discussions you once had. This results in a loss of intimacy and a sense of loneliness.

For the hard-of-hearing person, it is tiring to ask people to speak louder only to have them drop their voice at the end of a sentence. When people speak louder, it often sounds like they’re annoyed or angry since the intonation of one’s voice changes. This coupled with arguments over the volume of the TV, causes defensiveness and a lowering of self-esteem.

You’d like to help but most people with hearing loss don’t like to admit it. They may fear hearing loss as a sign of weakness or old age. It’s easier to accuse you of mumbling than to admit their problem. Or they may have outdated views on hearing aids. Ironically, an untreated hearing loss is much more conspicuous than a hearing aid.

End the Blame Game…

But no one is to blame. Anyone suffering from gradual hearing loss must go through a grieving process before they can seek help. This process includes stages of denial, sadness, anger and finally, acceptance of one’s hearing problem. You can help a loved one through this process more easily by doing the following:

Do not criticize, condemn, nag or make fun of your loved one and their hearing problems. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. The next time you are accused of mumbling, say, “I’m concerned about your hearing, let’s take the time and go together to have your hearing evaluated?” That’s it! Don’t justify your request. Justifying your request sets up the possibility of a power struggle, taking the focus away from the real problem – their hearing loss.

Get informed.

Read the pages on this web site about hearing loss and solutions. The more information and awareness you have, the sooner your loved one will go through this grieving process and seek help. Don’t talk about a hearing aid, talk about a hearing evaluation. Even if your loved one does not think he or she needs help, our Free Hearing Evaluation will tell them exactly what they’re hearing and what they’re missing. That’s the first step.Coming to terms with hearing loss can be difficult. Be gentle with yourself and your loved one.