When a loved one or friend is diagnosed with hearing loss, your first thought may be how can I help. The road to better hearing is not always easy and your loved one’s support network can be critical to their success.

Here are some tips to support someone with hearing loss:

  • Show empathy. Being empathetic to your loved one’s feelings is an important way to provide support. The person diagnosed with hearing loss may experience grief, anger, relief or all three. Rather than direct them to more positive feelings, instead hear them out, tell them you understand why they may be feeling this way
  • Ask questions. No, we don’t mean ask a million questions about their diagnosis, instead ask your loved one how you can best support them. Let your loved one set the direction and boundaries
  • Offer specific help. Rather than say, “I am here to help you”, instead think of specific tasks that they may need assistance with or would lighten their daily load as they work through their diagnosis and follow up care
  • Be a safe space. Your loved one will most likely use hearing aids to improve their hearing health. Hearing aid technology requires practice and there is sometime and work involved to acclimate. Be someone that they can count on to practice different listening scenarios and settings without judgement
  • Offer encouragement. Recognize the effort that your loved one is putting in to improve their hearing health. Celebrate the success and progress they have made
  • Include. Just because your loved one has been diagnosed with hearing loss does not mean that all social calls should halt as they receive treatment. Continue to invite your loved one out and about. While they might not always go, just knowing they are wanted can do a lot to lift their spirits.

Working toward better hearing health can be a difficult journey, but great support from family and friends along the way can make all the difference.