Untreated hearing loss goes beyond our ability to hear well. Hearing loss can affect our mood, our energy and our relationships with others. When a family member has untreated hearing loss all those around him or her can feel it too. Frustration and even tempers can run high over time. If you feel a family member may have hearing loss, here are some tips to help refer him or her to an audiologist.

  • Don’t make accusations. Your family member may already know he or she has a problem and is dealing with a mountain of feelings about it. Instead of declaring the issue loud and clear, ask about recent, specific listening situations. Are they recognizing there might be a problem? Ask them about how they feel about it and gently encourage the conversation toward what might be helpful
  • Don’t argue. Probably the worst thing you could do is start the conversation when you are most angry about the hearing problem. The best time to talk about hearing loss is not when you are feeling frustrated. Try to find a time where you can approach your family member calmly
  • Don’t threaten. When someone suffers from hearing loss they need all the support they can get. Pinning your relationship to getting help, can back you both into a corner that will not be helpful long term. Certainly express and be honest about how the hearing loss is affecting your relationship, but understand that successful treatment also hinges on having a solid support network

Finally, you should be prepared. Know your facts, talk to a hearing aid center prior to having the conversation with your family member. Learn about hearing exams and the diagnosis process. Understand better how hearing aids are recommended and fitted. Have the information ready for when your family member seems receptive.

Starting the conversion is never easy, but untreated hearing loss doesn’t heal itself and unfortunately will only get worse for your loved one.