Feb 2017 Augusta Free Press
When we think of helping a loved one with hearing loss who declines use of hearing aids, we often think of how important it is to repeat ourselves, speak clearly, speak louder or interpret what others say if they cannot hear the message. But when we do these good deeds for loved ones with a hearing loss, what we don’t realise is that we’re assisting in their failure to seek help. Such well-intended efforts are counterproductive to the ultimate goal of them receiving hearing aids.
- Stop repeating yourself! Explain that you are on a “Hearing Help Quest”—one that involves your loved one by allowing him or her the opportunity to realise the significance of their hearing loss. Do not stop helping though. All you do is preface what you repeat by saying each time, “Hearing Help!” or some other identifier. In a short amount of time, your loved ones will realise how often you say this. In turn, they will come to realise how often they depend on you. (This suggestion is only for a loved one who resists the idea of getting any help.)
- Stop raising your voice (then complaining you’re hoarse). That results in stressing your throat and vocal chords.
- Stop being the messenger by carrying the communication load for the family. Do not tell your loved one “He said” and “She said” when he or she needs to be responsible for getting this information directly from the source.
- Do not engage in conversation from another room as tempting as this is and as convenient as it appears. This sets up your communication process for failure.
- Create a telephone need. This means for you to stop being the interpreter on the telephone. Allow your loved one to struggle in order to recognise how much help he or she needs. We’re looking for motivation (to hear) from your loved one—not you.