Hearing loss is a common health problem that impacts more than 15% of American adults, including more than a third of people over age 65. That's the bad news. But the good news is that we have more ways than ever before to help people with hearing loss, including highly advanced hearing aids and assisted listening devices.
Unfortunately, however, many people with hearing loss lose out on the benefits of hearing aids and other treatments and technologies because they don't seek help for their hearing problems.
This can happen for many reasons. People with hearing loss may not wish to admit they are having trouble hearing because it makes them feel old or vulnerable. They may think hearing loss is an inevitable problem that can't be helped. Or they may have an outdated understanding of what hearing aids and other tools can do.
If you're the friend or family member of someone who won't admit or get help for their hearing loss, we can help. At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and our team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists are committed to improving lives by addressing hearing problems and helping family and friends support loved ones with hearing loss.
We would like to share the following tips that might help you encourage a loved one with hearing loss to seek help.
Raise the topic gently
Choose the right moment to discuss a loved one's hearing loss. Be supportive and empathetic, telling them that you've noticed they sometimes have trouble hearing and that you’d like to help them. Remind them that hearing loss is very common and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Consider asking others to speak with your loved one also, such as their grown children or their primary care provider. If you know of other people who have successfully addressed their hearing loss, perhaps they might be willing to speak to your loved one to share their success story.
Suggest that your loved one have a hearing evaluation. This is an important step because it can help identify the cause of hearing loss, as well as treatments and strategies that might help slow down the future hearing loss. In some cases, hearing loss can be reversed with medical treatment or changes in prescription medications that impact hearing.
Focus on the benefits
Using hearing aids or other devices doesn't just help improve an individual's hearing. It can deliver many other benefits as well.
For example, improving hearing can reduce social isolation, which is a potentially serious health problem, especially among older adults. It can also help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Improving the ability to hear can make it easier for people to enjoy time with friends, attend performances, and do activities they love. Better hearing can also help keep people safe by improving their balance and protecting them from falls.
Mention how hearing aids have advanced
Years ago, hearing aids were big, bulky devices that drew attention to themselves and sometimes caused more trouble than they were worth. But today, the hearing aid design has been streamlined. In fact, some hearing aids are practically invisible to other people.
The hearing aids used today are smaller, lighter, and far more comfortable than older models.
Hearing aids have advanced significantly in their functionality and performance, too. They work far more effectively than hearing aids of the past and can be paired up with smartphones and listening devices.
We offer a wide variety of hearing aid brands and styles, including products from manufacturers such as Starkey®, Widex®, Resound GN®, Sonic Innovations®, Signia®, Phonak, and Unitron™. We recognize that different hearing aids are suitable for different people, and we work closely with our patients to identify the best model for them.
True, it may take some time to adjust to using a hearing aid. But our caring, patient staff is fully trained in instructing patients how to use hearing aids, including inserting them, cleaning them, changing their batteries, and adjusting them for optimal performance in different types of situations.
Recommend a trusted hearing provider
Make it as easy as possible for your loved one to receive a hearing evaluation by recommending a compassionate, skilled provider who will make them feel comfortable.
Here at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Sharim and our team understand how hard it can be for people with hearing loss to ask for help. We know how to meet these patients where they are and give them the care they need. We provide our patients with hearing tests, audiology consultations, and comprehensive hearing evaluations. We treat all of our patients with the utmost sensitivity.
Make an appointment today
We want to help your loved one hear better. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our care team by contacting one of our offices, which are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.