If your friend or relative has symptoms of hearing loss, you may be wondering how to approach that topic without offending them. “I think you need to get your hearing checked,” usually isn’t the best opening line – it may make people defensive. Start the new year with a fresh approach – take a look at our tips for encouraging that important person in your life to get a hearing exam.
Talk about yourself first. Even when people recognize their own symptoms of hearing loss, they may be embarrassed to ask for help. Try saying something that takes the focus off of the other person, such as: “I want to get a hearing test. Would you like to go with me?”
Be lighthearted. Discussing the importance of a hearing exam doesn’t have to be a serious heart-to-heart talk. You could instead mention in casual conversation that you recently read everyone should have an annual hearing exam and that it’s something you’ve been meaning to do yourself.
Offer something in exchange. You may want your best friend to get a hearing test. She may want your top-secret recipe for apple pie. Think about what you can offer your friend or relative that motivates them to take action.
Enlist some help. Within families, some relatives have “favorites,” even if they would never admit it. If you have a relative with hearing loss, and you know that relative has a favorite family member, that’s the person who might be able to nudge your reluctant relative to schedule a hearing exam.
Contact their physician. Many people who reject advice from family members have no problem following their doctor’s orders. You might consider contacting your family member’s physician and explaining the symptoms of hearing loss you’ve observed. At your family member’s next regular check-up, the physician may issue a referral to see an audiologist.
Prepare to persuade. When trying to convince someone to get a hearing exam, you may receive the common reply, “My hearing is just fine.” If that person wears glasses or contacts, you might remind them of the first time they wore corrective lenses, when they realized just how poor their vision had become.
Be patient. It may take some time to find the right approach. Pushing too hard, or mentioning hearing loss too frequently, could alienate the person you’re trying to help.
A Simple First Step
An online hearing test is a quick and easy way to get an initial hearing assessment. If you’ve had no success in getting your loved one to a hearing appointment, an online test might be the first step in helping them recognize their own hearing loss. You can take an online hearing assessment here.