Posted by Roger F Stokes RHAD on June 12, 2020
None of us like getting older, or some of the things associated with it. I have been a Hearing Aid Dispenser for 26 years and have dealt with thousands of people who don’t think they need a hearing aid because they “don’t have a problem” – except that the members of their family can tell that they are not hearing as well as they used to.
My Mum was the same. She was adamant that her hearing was perfect, and I was “being ridiculous” suggesting in 1994 that she needed to do something about it. You’ll read later on in this blog about what happened with her.
Other things can affect our hearing, but ageing is the most common cause. As I said at the start, getting older is not something we accept very easily. Our minds and bodies slowly decline over the years, and it can lead some individuals to become quite depressed about it. I’ve seen that too.
US and UK research has shown the most significant percentage of individuals with hearing loss belong to those aged 60+, and incredibly, men are nearly twice as likely to experience hearing loss between the ages of 20 to 69!
It is therefore important to understand that, while you may think your loved one would benefit from hearing aids, they may not realise it yet. More frustratingly for family, if they do know they have a problem, I’ve found it very common that the individual will not even want to admit it.
It can be both frustrating and upsetting for them to discover their hearing is in decline, but they very often refuse to acknowledge or accept it.
My Mum refused to accept it because she said “I’m not old enough to need hearing aids! My Dad didn’t have a hearing aid until he was in his 80’s so I’m not having one! I can hear everything I need to hear!”. She certainly wasn’t – she was missing so much on TV, in family gatherings and so on.
If your family has a history of hearing loss, or have worked in specific industries, then they may be predisposed to hearing loss. If you are not sure, here are some common signs that indicate a hearing aid would improve your loved one’s quality of life:
The family have to tread very carefully. Simply suggesting they get a hearing aid can come across as insensitive at best, and completely insulting at worst. This is particularly true if you have repeatedly tried to get them, unsuccessfully, to consider hearing aids because of your growing frustration at their daily situation – like I was with my Mum in the 1990s when she was nearly 60 years old.
Instead, and this certainly helps, why not begin by putting yourself in their shoes – so you can approach the subject appropriately?
I’m sure most of us have lost the ability to do something specific as we get older – riding a bicycle, mowing the lawn, cleaning the car, driving a car etc. These things can be devastating, so it’s important to remember your loved one did not ask to lose their hearing. In so many appointments I’ve done over the years, friends and family members can get so frustrated, and even angry when they have to repeat themselves so often. Then the guilt can compound that frustration and cause real problems in the family.
It’s very important that you speak with them from an understanding position because you will be more likely to be heard (excuse the pun). They will be more receptive to what you are saying. We regularly judge ourselves for our shortcomings, so making sure they understand that you are genuinely concerned, and wanting to improve their quality of life, will help them feel more comfortable when discussing it – it’s all done with love and care for them from the outset after all isn’t it?
Every one of us is unique. Your relative or friend might be the sensitive type, the funny type, or the serious type.
Bear this in mind before approaching them about their hearing. Sometimes humour can be added into the conversation to lighten the mood, but sometimes facts and figures would be more appropriate.
However, each of these reasons can be resolved with understanding and patience. When we remove these barriers by offering to help in any way we can, they won’t have any reason to fear being checked by one of the Hear4U audiologists.
Think back to those times when you and your loved one laughed and talked together. It would be fantastic to get back to those days again, wouldn’t it? It can happen with the right support, diagnosis, and treatment.
The recent lockdown caused by Coronavirus has left loads of people feeling very shut off and isolated.
Perhaps they’ve now also realised just what their hearing is like. They’ve missed seeing family, and once you can all meet again, they may well find that their hearing loss is causing a problem they now know they can do something about.
It took TEN long years for my family and myself (as a hearing aid dispenser) to finally convince my Mum to get hearing aids. I had proved she had a hearing loss right from when I qualified in 1994 – I demonstrated some hearing aids on her, proving that she can hear better with them! After she’d had them only a few weeks, she admitted to me that “I should’ve done this years ago!” She will openly tell you that she wouldn’t be without them now, because she can’t hear very well at all without them in!
Hear4U would be happy to have a no-obligation phone call with you or your loved one to answer any questions, offer our expertise, and make some recommendations.
Why not contact us today by phone, email or live chat, and we will be there for you and your family – to help improve the quality of their life AND yours?