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Three Ways To Help A Family Member Who Is Experiencing Hearing Loss

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If you have a family member who appears to be losing his or her hearing, this person might feel isolated. It's important to remember, despite the challenges this issue presents your family, that this person isn't alone. Half of Americans over the age of 75 have hearing loss, while close to 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 struggle to hear. You can help the person get through this situation by gently suggesting that he or she visit a hearing specialist for a hearing test and possibly [to] receive hearing aids. Because many people are sensitive about their hearing difficulties, it's important to take the right approach to ensure your message gets heard.

Discuss It At The Right Time

Bringing up your family member's hearing struggles in front of others can make the person feel embarrassed and might even feel that he or she is being attacked. Given that you want to approach this topic from a gentle and helpful perspective, speak with the person away from a crowd. Whether you wish to raise the matter somewhat spontaneously or would rather schedule a time to talk depends on how you expect the person will feel most comfortable. It can help to have an additional family member share the message with you, although it's best to avoid too many people cluttering the conversation.

Share Your Empathetic Message

It's important that you get across the message that you're concerned that the person's perceived hearing difficulties might be negatively affecting his or her quality of life. While you don't want to use examples that might make the person feel badly, sharing a time at which you felt the person's hearing struggle left him or her out of a conversation and how the situation made you feel badly for the person can help demonstrate your gentle approach. Be clear that you're bringing up this situation so that the person can get help to restore some quality of life.

Volunteer Your Help With The Next Steps

If the person is ready to receive help for the hearing issue, the logical next step is to visit a hearing specialist and undergo a hearing test. You can play a helpful role in this step by scheduling the appointment for your family member and even asking if you can attend the meeting to lend your support. The person should feel less alone with your presence. And you'll be able to provide support as the hearing specialist discusses the next steps, which are often getting fitted for hearing aids.