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When our bodies go through changes in ability, it can feel like a harsh reality. What once came easily now requires some effort or discomfort. Particularly when these changes come with the aging process, we can sometimes feel like there’s little to be done about the decline. Although this feeling of inevitability can ring true in some contexts, that is not the case with hearing loss! Getting treatment for hearing loss not only improves your communication ability and relationships, but it can also have effects on your physical, mental, and cognitive wellbeing. However, acknowledging hearing loss is the first step toward getting the help you need. People have many different reasons for avoiding the reality of hearing loss, but each of them leads to a troubling avoidance of getting treatment, as well. Let’s explore some of the ways that people avoid the fact of hearing loss, as well as what can be done to encourage these people to seek assistance. If you have someone in your life who is not acknowledging the reality of hearing loss, these tips can help encourage them to get the help they need.
Knowledge of Hearing Loss
Some people truly do not realize they have hearing loss at all. Particularly when the gradual onset of hearing loss takes place over the span of years, it is possible not to notice the changes. Some people have been living with hearing loss so long that they don’t even understand the change has taken place. Whereas they used to hear certain sounds, the loss of hearing in that register might have happened over such a long time that they did not even notice the change. In this case, your outsider perspective is crucial. If you notice that your loved one seems to be missing out on certain sounds, words, or voices, then you can bring the possibility of hearing loss to mind with gentle encouragement to get a hearing test.
Denial of Hearing Loss
More commonly, an individual understands that hearing loss has occurred, but there is another barrier to getting assistance. Denying the reality of hearing loss comes from many different psychological states. Some people think that admitting hearing loss is akin to admitting to being “old.” They associate hearing loss with becoming elderly, when in fact people of all ages experience hearing loss. Others see an admission of hearing loss as a loss of independence. They don’t want to be helped with basic tasks in life, so they try to deny that hearing loss has occurred. These people might even go to elaborate lengths to try to hide their loss, and the miscommunication that ensues can be frustrating for all involved. This belief in a loss of independence, is quite the contrary when it comes to seeking treatment. Getting treatment for hearing loss actually restores independence to those who wear their hearing aids in public settings. Still others think that hearing aids are not very effective at treating hearing loss. They might be basing their assumptions on older models that had issues with background noise and whistling feedback. Hearing aid technology has improved dramatically in recent years, and many of the old issues have been resolved. Particularly when it comes to audio quality and facilitating communication, hearing aids do remarkably well at improving one’s quality of life.
Encouraging a Hearing Diagnosis
Although these barriers can prevent many people from acknowledging the reality of hearing loss, they are based on false beliefs about the nature of hearing loss, the implications for those who have lost their hearing, and the potential benefits of hearing aids. If you have someone in your life who seems to have trouble hearing, the best way to support and offer help is to encourage a hearing test. This diagnostic analysis will let you know how hearing ability has been affected and what paths of treatment can be helpful. For those who need hearing aids, these devices can be a crucial step toward health, wellbeing, and independence. Why not have a conversation with your loved one about getting a hearing test? You don’t need to push too hard, and simply opening the conversation can be enough to bring the possibility of treatment to mind.