Dealing with hearing loss is a challenge. As with any challenge it really helps to have supportive people around you. And the earlier you get your family up to speed with how hearing loss is affecting you the easier your journey can be. That’s why it really makes sense to involve family members or a close friend in your hearing aid appointment.
The invisible nature of hearing loss can add to the challenges you face. Hearing loss can also be changeable and we may hear better in some circumstances but not in others. That means others find it very easy to discount your difficulties and you can find yourself feeling very isolated and misunderstood.
Family members or loved ones can play a significant role in how well you come to terms with hearing loss and how quickly you adapt to wearing hearing aids. Remember, they too are affected by your hearing loss. In fact, involving your loved ones before, during and after your hearing appointments can help you communicate better and can strengthen your relationships with them.
Ignoring the warning signs of hearing loss can harm your mental and physical health and even impact your financial security. And those warning signs may include family comments and suggestions that you need to get your hearing tested.
Be wary about dismissing your family’s concerns. They may not always express their own frustration in the most sensitive way but they can be an important part of the solution. Remember, it’s all about communication. Your family will need to become more responsive to the signs that you haven’t heard something. And you may need to be more open about your own frustrations and emotions.
It takes time to come to terms with hearing loss. Your family can help you take those first important steps towards accepting your loss and moving forward. Here are nine ways they can help make communication easier for you. Involving your family at every step of your journey will help strengthen your relationships with them too.
But loved ones also have a vital role to play in making the most of your partnership with your hearing professional.
Support at your hearing appointments
Friends and loved ones can help you get the best out of your appointments with your hearing professional in a number of ways. Dealing with hearing loss can bring up a range of emotions that you might find it hard to deal with and loved ones can provide precious emotional support.
It’s worthwhile writing down a list of questions that you want to ask before you go to your appointment. Ask your friends if they can think of any questions you might have missed.
Your hearing professional might present a lot of technical information. For example, you might not be familiar with what the signs on your hearing tests mean. Of course, your hearing professional will explain the significance of your hearing test results. For some people the stigma of hearing loss is a barrier even when dealing with a hearing professional and you may feel embarrassed about asking for more clarification.
Your friends can help here by taking notes and checking you’ve asked all the questions you need to. It can feel very frustrating to get home and find you’ve forgotten some important details or you didn’t ask one of your key questions. And they’ll probably have questions of their own that you haven’t thought of.
Take the time afterwards to discuss with your friends what they heard during each session. You might be surprised how much they picked up that you missed. This kind of support can be enormously beneficial. Their interpretations may differ and discussion around those ideas may throw up new questions for you.
Modern hearing aids feature advanced technology that can transform your hearing experience. Some of this technology may be unfamiliar to you, and family members who have a higher degree of technical knowledge can be especially helpful when you attend a hearing aid appointment.
Maybe you don’t know how modern hearing aids work or you feel a little overwhelmed by all the technical terms. Maybe you’re not sure how connectivity with smart devices will benefit you. Perhaps, you don’t know the difference between rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and the older standard zinc batteries.
Friends can ask technical questions and clarify the advantages of different features that will enable you to get the best hearing aids for your needs.
Other ways your family can help
Adapting to hearing aids takes time and you will need to be patient. Your hearing professional will discuss the improvement and the speed of progress you can expect with your new hearing aids. But friends and family also play an enormously important role after your hearing aid appointment by supporting you through the adjustment period.
In your eagerness to make the most of your new-found hearing potential you may forget to give your ears the necessary rest. Loved ones can remind you about the importance of realistic expectations and can encourage you to take a break when you’re demanding too much of yourself or pushing too hard.
There will be highs and lows on your journey to better hearing; they’re inevitable. Loved ones can provide encouragement and emotional support when the challenges feel overwhelming. They can also remind you just how far you’ve come.
Your hearing professional will fit and optimise your hearing aids for you. But make the most of younger family members who know their way around digital technology. Their help can also be invaluable for getting the best out of your devices.
Hearing loss can feel very isolating but involving your loved ones and family members in your journey can make an enormous difference to how quickly you adapt to your hearing aids. A three-way partnership between you, your hearing professional and your family will give you the support you need to make the most of your new life-changing hearing aids.