Does your family member or close friend deny the existence of their hearing loss, and that does not seek any treatment? If you answered yes, you are among the thousands, if not millions of others experiencing the same issue across the world! Acknowledging a hearing impairment can be a blow to a person's self confidence and feeling of control. But do not fret! There are ways you can help!
As a close loved one, you must also understand your own feelings about the situation prior to speaking with your family member or close friend. Consider your feelings. Do you get angry with your loved one for not seeking treatment? Does your attitude only upset your loved one over the situation? Have you become the hearing “aid” in your loved one's life (filling in gaps, repeating yourself and others)? Are you resentful of becoming the hearing “aid”? Do you avoid social gatherings for the sake of your loved one because of their hearing injury? Do you resent that you miss out socially due to this? Do you believe your loved one is disillusioned by their perception of “normal” hearing? Do you ask about his / her hearing impairment? Do you feel that he / she is acting vainly by not pursuing amplification? Yes? If you said yes to any of these questions, it is definitely time to get moving.
Resentment is an issue, a stumbling block for you and for your loved one to move forward. If you have found yourself resenting him / her over the hearing impairment, that is an emotion that must first be deal with before moving on. Once you have this problem, your mission of hearing help can begin!
First things first, if you are creating a safety net for your loved ones hearing difficulties – it is time to stop. Slowly remove yourself from the role of hearing “aid”. Manage your own communication difficulties, not his / hers. Know that communication will be more difficult during this time, but that this is certainly a stepping stone to treatment. Know that conflicts may arise, but remember that this is for their and your betterment. Start telling the truth. Let your loved one know how their hearing difficulty is impacting you, but do so gently and with love. Suggest options, and provide the information readily. Understand that this is difficult for them, be loving, and generous about the time it will take for them to accept treatment as a needed option. They have to accept their loss before they can manage it.
After a short period of time, your loved one will probably start to realize that without all of the help you had been providing, they are having great difficulty. Once they realize this, then they can begin to take positive steps toward intervention and management. Stand firm in your stance of not being a hearing “aid”. You have to reveal the need for hearing management. The most important thing you can do for them is to help your loved one recognize their problem. Beyond that, it is up to them whether they will take steps to manage their hearing loss or not.