If someone in your family is experiencing hearing loss, you might wonder how you can provide emotional and physical support. Not all hearing loss results in deafness, but it does have an impact with someone's confidence and their willingness to engage in the world. Support from loving family can make all the difference. Here are some tips to help you know how to help.
1. Encourage research for hearing aids and other implements.
Hearing aids are a common solution for helping to restore sound to the ear. However, not all people and not all types of hearing loss can benefit from just one type of aid. Therefore, if your family member dislikes wearing a specific type of hearing aid, encourage their desire to look for other options. It can take some trial and error to find the right fit.
You might also consider more permanent helps. For example, cochlear implants can be a good solution, especially for children who experience early hearing loss in the womb or loss because of illness.
2. Check venues ahead of time.
Your loved one might not enjoy the same activities because they assume they won't be able to hear enough to make it pleasurable. For example, going to a movie could be challenging, even with a hearing aid, because hearing aids are selective about the sounds they enhance. However, many public places, like theaters, conference rooms, and concert halls, offer assistive listening devices. These make it easier for someone with hearing loss to hearing music and background sounds that can make the viewing experience easier. You can call ahead to check if the venues you patron have these devices available.
3. Adjust your communication.
Hearing loss does not mean deafness, and you should not treat your family member like they are not able to hear you at all. Don't exclude them from conversation; instead, change your communication style. Face the person when you speak to them, and speak evenly, without rushing. Don't exaggerate your sounds, but you can elevate your volume slightly to help them understand. Use more gestures when you speak to animate your words, and try not to chew gum or have anything in your mouth to obscure your words.
4. Encourage new experiences.
Offer companionship so that your family member can still do the things they enjoy the most. For example, if the person previously enjoyed swimming laps in the local pool, offer to go with them a few times a week, especially because they most likely can't swim with a hearing aid and may feel apprehensive about swimming alone.
For more information, visit a local hearing clinic, like Desert Knolls Hearing Center.