Support for relatives

Untreated hearing loss affects our social lives. Encourage your family member or friend to get help, so communication becomes easier for everyone.

Does someone you know need a caring push?

If you’re reading this it’s because you suspect that someone you care about has a hearing loss. Be able to support and help your family member or friend to be able to hear better.

Have you heard “Sorry, could you say that again?” once too often lately? With hearing loss, sounds fade so gradually that they can disappear unnoticed. You and others may be under the impression that the person with hearing loss has selective hearing. This is usually because some sounds come through clearly but not others, and these gaps soon begin to appear in words and sentences. This makes conversation difficult in a crowded room or over the phone.

If left untreated, hearing loss can affect relationships between the person affected and their family and friends, quietly eroding their quality of life. 

That’s why it’s important that you:

  • Motivate your loved one to get a hearing test in order to take the necessary action.

  • Learn how to make conversations easier by considering the way you communicate.

Learn more about hearing loss

Recognise the signs of hearing loss

These questions will help you make a quick assessment of the hearing of a loved one.

Does the person you care about:

…complain that everybody seems to be mumbling and ask you and others to repeat things? YES/NO

…have to sit face to face with you and doesn’t hear when someone calls from behind or from another room?

…have difficulties conversing in noisy environments such as at a restaurant or in a car?

…tend to be more quiet than normal when socialising?

…listen to the TV or radio at an abnormally loud level?

…miss a lot of the dialogue when going to the theatre, cinema or other venues?

If the result indicates hearing loss

If the answer to most of these questions is yes, you should insist that your relative has his or her hearing tested. The earlier you get a clear diagnosis, the more successful the outcome is likely to be. Reassure the person that you would like to accompany to the hearing centre that they will be in excellent hands and that you will support his or her journey towards better hearing in the months to come.

7 good communication habits

Communication is a two-way process. Hearing aids may not be enough to make all conversations a success. You can do a lot to make listening and communicating easier.

1. Gain the person’s attention before speaking, so that they’re ready to look at you and focus on what you’re saying.

2. Speak clearly and at a natural pace – don’t shout.

3. Move closer and sit where your face is lit, so that your facial expressions are easy to read.

4. Try not to talk while chewing or smoking, or hide your mouth or chin while speaking.

5. Reduce background noise, turn down the music or TV or find somewhere quieter to talk.

6. If you are in a group, try not to interrupt each other.

7. Instead of repeating yourself, try to rephrase the sentence.

Diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss

In over 90% of cases of hearing loss, hearing aids are the best treatment, which can improve the quality of life not only for the hearing impaired but also for the rest of the family.

Get a hearing test

The first step towards better hearing is to get a hearing test at a hearing centre. This takes less than an hour and is completely painless. Since there’s a lot of information to digest, offer to go along. Two memories are better than one.

Locate your nearest hearing centre

The best treatment

If the test shows signs of hearing loss, the next step is to find the right solution. Hearing aids are the best treatment in most cases, as they can improve the ability to communicate - though they never totally restore a person’s hearing. What solution the hearing care professional will recommend will depend on the person’s needs, lifestyle, personal preferences, and budget.

Adjusting to new impressions

Once the hearing aids have been fitted, you need to encourage him/her to be patient. Amplified sound can be overwhelming, because the brain has to learn to listen to forgotten sounds again. But it’s important to wear the hearing aids as much as possible, to give the brain time to adjust. If the volume seem too soft or too loud, encourage him/her to have the hearing aids adjusted.

Read about the first days of wearing hearing aids here
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