Losing the ability to hear is more common than people think. It can be a frightening situation and sometimes hard to acknowledge your hearing loss. Onset can be gradual, or perhaps you may not wish to admit to family and friends that you are struggling. Research suggests people wait an average of ten years before seeking medical help for their hearing issues.
When it comes to hearing loss, the sooner you can get treatment the higher your chances of maintaining a reasonable level of audible recognition. There are some tell-tale signs that may be more obvious to friends and family than the person with the hearing loss. Some signs others may notice include
- asking you to repeat yourself
- not hearing the doorbell or phone ring
- listening to the radio or television at high volumes
- not hearing when being called from another room
- thinking people are mumbling and not joining in conversations in social situations or group settings
Friends with hearing loss
If you have friends or family who suffer from hearing loss, effective communication can further support them. Here are five tips for holding conversations when hearing is a struggle.
- Don’t shout – believe it or not, this makes it more difficult to hear, particularly if the person is wearing a hearing aid.
- Get their attention by saying their name; this gives them a chance to look at you and focus on your words.
- Reduce background noise by turning off the TV or going somewhere quiet to talk.
- Let them see your mouth and facial expressions.
- Provide valuable information in writing so you can be confident they didn’t miss anything.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, it can be difficult to detect initially but support is available. If you’ve noticed a change to your hearing or the hearing of a partner speak to a doctor about organising a test or call a local hearing clinic such as Hearing Australia. If you are feeling nervous, ask your partner or friend to book in a hearing test too and support one another.
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