Counseling Tips For Untreated Hearing Loss

If you are the spouse, child or friend of someone with untreated hearing loss, you may think you're helping them by repeating yourself, making extra effort to speak louder or more clearly, or by interpreting what others say. What you may not realize is that you're unknowingly assisting in their failure to seek help.

Many people with hearing loss don't realize how much they're actually missing because you have become their ears. However, it takes only a short time for them to realize that, without your help, they're in trouble. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your friend or loved one get the help they need:

Don't:

- Repeat yourself
- Raise your voice
- "Translate" conversation
- Act as their messenger on the phone

Do:

- Let them know waiting won't make the hearing loss go away or get better
- Communicate how their loss is affecting your relationship
- Encourage them to get their hearing screened
- Accompany them to their appointment

Research has also shown that hearing instruments do have a significant impact on interpersonal relationships and overall quality of life. Specifically, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) surveyed 4000 hearing impaired individuals and their family members and found:

- Treatment of hearing loss improves the relationship at home and with family
- The use of hearing instruments is associated with reductions in anger, frustration, paranoia and anxiety
- Most people who use hearing instruments have improved social lives
- People who use hearing instruments report better health than hard-of-hearing people who do not use hearing instruments
- 9 out of 10 hearing instrument users report improvements in their quality of life


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