If you’re like most people, there is a person in your family that is showing obvious signs of hearing loss but is in complete denial, and becomes angry if you suggest having their hearing tested. In a lot of cases, it’s the husband and/or father exhibiting hearing loss, and the wife or kids trying to convince him to see a specialist.
Getting A Hearing Test
There are several reasons why someone would feel hesitant to get their hearing assessed. What if it’s bad news? What if the specialist suggests hearing aids? Doesn’t this mean he is old, maybe broken or weak somehow? Hearing aids are a significant investment and not something anyone ever really WANTS. So if he avoids the test altogether, he can avoid the results.
The problem with this approach is that, whether we confirm a hearing loss or not, it is present and it is changing his brain. It is causing him to withdraw from social groups and noisy events, and probably making him frustrated and angry. It is causing friction in the family because the TV is too loud and he can’t understand the grandkids. Worst of all, untreated hearing loss can cause cognitive decline and increase the chance of dementia.
Hearing Aid Clinic
The first step is to understand the fear and hesitation, and to reassure him that there will be no pressure to buy hearing aids. A good clinic will take their time with him, educate him on what’s happening and why, and reassure him that it’s happening to everyone else too! Everyone’s hearing degrades with age, just at different rates and in different ways. The clinic will share his test results with his family doctor to make sure there are no red flags, as hearing loss can sometimes indicate or accompany other conditions. The specialist should explain the brain hearing connection and what happens when we don’t treat the hearing loss, and then he can take his time to consider his options.
It may be helpful for other family members to be assessed at the same appointment. Everyone over 50 should have a hearing test done to get a baseline and have the results sent to their doctor, so it’s an opportunity to normalize the assessment. And who knows; maybe it’s just impacted wax and easily resolved!
The first appointment is always the hardest, but once people realize how friendly the Beck team is, and how painless it is to have your hearing assessed, it’s a lot easier to get them to come back!