The family is seated around the table for Sunday night dinner. Sitting at the head is Grandpa. As the conversation speeds up, the much-loved elder withdraws into himself. Because he can’t hear.
But it’s not just Grandpa, this story is being played out in boardrooms, workplaces and family kitchens across Australia. Hearing loss affects 3.5 million Australians and 2/3 of people over 60.
So how do you have the conversation about hearing loss? Let’s start with understanding and empathy. Not hearing means, our abilities are diminishing. No-one likes to face that truth. Especially if the person is a respected family member or work colleague. We get that.
While most people accept, they need glasses when the words look blurry, the same people can’t admit they need hearing aids. Partly because hearing aids used to have such a bad reputation; they were big, ugly, uncomfortable and very expensive. But seriously that is such old news. So you can suggest it’s time to see what is available.
Don’t be surprised if they remember lots of situations where they hear perfectly well; face to face, one on one, quiet situations, yes, lots of times.
But there are also times when they miss out. Like where the speaker is turned away or speaks quietly or there’s competing noise. Then it’s hard to hear. As it doesn’t happen all the time, it seems to be the situation, not their hearing.
The only way to be sure, is to get their hearing tested by a trusted professional. So, if they seem tired after a group conversation, or withdraw from discussions or the TV is turned up loud; suggest they come in for an appointment.
At Hear-Clear, we understand the impact of hearing loss. We can help you have the difficult conversation. Don’t let your family suffer because one person is missing out.