The other day, I had a patient come in who was fed up with working around his hearing loss. Or, rather, he was fed up with forcing his wife to do so. “Whenever we’re around other people, she has to ‘translate’ for me constantly,” he told me. “I don’t want to do that to her anymore.”
I was glad to see that he recognized the problem and had decided to do something about it.
Unfortunately, his story is a rare one. Despite the friction that hearing loss causes in all kinds of relationships, it’s rarely the person with hearing loss that decides to seek out care. More often, they’re dragged to the audiologist by a loved one who just can’t take it anymore. Or, they refuse treatment altogether, and let the conflict fester.
If you have a loved one with hearing loss, you’re probably nodding your head right now.
You’ve grown used to the TV volume being cranked up to 11, the laughable claims that they “don’t have hearing loss — everyone else is just mumbling!” Still, you still find it difficult to not feel ignored when they don’t hear you.
To avoid feeling sorry for them when they’re forced to stay home during a social event. Or to not worry when they stay inside, day after day, quiet. Your loved one is just not the same person they used to be. You notice it, but, like so many others suffering from hearing loss, they’re in denial.
What You Can Do
Left to their own devices, most people will stubbornly refuse to address their hearing loss until the day they die. Sometimes, it takes a gentle intervention to get them into the audiologist’s office. Sit them down and tell them your concerns. Calmly explain to them how hurt you feel when they seem as if they don’t care what you have to say.
Tell them you want to help them recover their old self, to empower them to return to the things they love to do. And explain that the best path forward is an appointment with an audiologist who cares. Be firm, but don’t make it seem as if you’re attacking them.
You can’t force your loved one to seek treatment for their hearing loss. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help get them there. If you’re tired of standing by while hearing loss pushes your loved one further and further away, give me a call at 617-934-6987. I’ll help explain the benefits of hearing treatment, and give them the tools to reconnect with those people that make their life worth living.