Living with unaided hearing loss can be isolating: here's a simple guide for you as a relative, living together with a loved one with hearing loss.
Living with unaided hearing loss is no fun at all: It’s upsetting for the person with a hearing loss, but it’s also frustrating for you as a relative
, whether you are a spouse, daughter, grandchild, friend or colleague – it affects all of you.
For you as a relative living or being close to someone with hearing loss
you have most probably experienced:
- You have to behave as a translator or a buffer.
- Your loved one's social life declines because going out can be exhausting for both of you.
- You sometimes feel as if you are slowly losing your partner, parent or friend to isolation.
You are not the only one who finds it hard to help someone you care about come to terms with their hearing difficulties. Start by changing the psychology around your conversation:
1. Express care and support
Talk from your heart with deep compassion and let them know they have your full support. Make sure to be motivational and encourage them to talk about their hearing loss.
2. Guide them through their journey
Help your loved one discover their hearing loss – they might not fully comprehend the extent of it, and neither do you. But there are helpful tools
that could help you and your loved one with their hearing difficulties.
3. Have a safe environment
Make sure the conversation takes place in a “safe” and quiet place. This way your loved one will feel more comfortable to express themselves.
4. Be patient
Don’t blame your loved one for their hearing loss. They might not realise how much it affects them and you. Having hearing loss already puts them in difficult situations, they would not want to upset you too.
5. Be open
After listening to them, express to them about your feelings too. Emphasise how it makes you feel when not being heard, not how much it bothers you.
6. Again - be very patient
Try to avoid nagging – nagging does not help neither you nor your loved one. It will only drive you and your loved one further apart.
7. It's a sensitive topic
Don’t make fun of your loved one for not hearing everything. Don't criticise them in front of others because of they can't hear you.
8. Keep them in the loop
Emphasise that you want to keep them joining the dialogue, be included in social events and not lose their company. Remind them that they're important and they should not miss out on the social events.