Many people of various ages, from infants to the elderly and many in between, experience hearing loss. Likely, if you don’t have hearing loss yourself, you know someone who does. As loving and supportive partners, friends, co-workers and family members, we all want to know the best ways to support those we care about who experience hearing loss. Below is an easy guide, detailing four ways in which you can support a hearing-impaired loved one.

Respect and compassion without being patronizing

This is the main thing that most people with impaired hearing will tell you. While they need and appreciate your support and empathy, the last thing they want is pity or worse, to be treated as if they are somehow weaker, less smart or less worthy because of their impairment. Hearing loss affects many people and is a disability just like any other; one that is often able to be partially or completely corrected and can be managed through treatment and care. 

It is easier than you think to be compassionate and supportive of a hearing impaired person – you can accommodate their needs by resolving to speak a little slower, perhaps a little louder and be careful of switching topics too fast or turning your back on the listener. Learning ASL is also a wonderfully supportive thing to do, that will benefit you much in life. It’s all about being mindful, accessible and accommodating without being patronizing. 

Offer real help and support in the ways they need

More than a translator, many who experience diminished hearing could do with someone who is willing to give them a hand with things that are difficult. Giving someone a ride to the audiologist, or sitting with them while they decide on the best course of treatment, are ways that you can show real support that actually helps your loved one. 

Encourage them to have a hearing test/begin treatment

Many people with hearing loss, especially those over a certain age who are experiencing slowly dwindling hearing, can be a bit stubborn about making a hearing test appointment. There are a number of reasons for this: sometimes it can be a fear of the expense, other times a reluctance to admit that aging is a factor. 

If you can get through to your loved one and encourage them to have a hearing test, it will greatly improve their quality of life. An audiologist or hearing specialist can diagnose the source of their hearing loss and then recommend a variety of hearing devices that will partially or in some cases, completely, restore your loved ones’ hearing. Encouraging them to get a hearing test and offering support with a ride to the clinic or helping them pay for their device, is one of the kindest things you can do for your loved one. 

Support their choices

After the hearing test, your loved one will then decide which type of hearing device or treatment to begin. They may choose between in the ear (ITE), behind the ear (BTE) and in the canal (ITC) or other types of hearing aids, all of which have different features, sizes and styles. They will likely make this decision with the support and input of their audiologist, but offer them support where you can no matter what type of device they choose. They know their needs best. 

Do your research

If you have someone in your life who has profound hearing loss, it’s a good idea to research their condition and learn about their symptoms and needs. Rather than forcing the person to explain their hearing loss, showing them, you care by doing independent research and learning how to best accommodate them shows them that you value them and care about their needs. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, making an appointment for a hearing test is the first thing you should do. Scheduling an appointment with a reputable hearing instrument specialist, such as the team at Clifton Springs Hearing Center, will put you on the right path towards treating your hearing loss with a hearing device or other treatment. Hearing tests are painless and very fast, and your audiologist will talk with you about payment options as well. Learn more about the Clifton Springs Hearing Center and the types of specialized care they do by calling today at 315-496-4314.