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Study Finds Family Members Play Critical Role in Addressing Loved Ones' Hearing Loss
Date:12/8/2009

is book, "How Hearing Loss Impacts Relationships: Motivating Your Loved One," BHI advisor Dr. Richard Carmen offers practical advice on how "hearing helpers" can help their loved ones overcome denial and seek treatment for their hearing loss:

First, understand that although you may think your efforts are loving and helpful, acting as ears for someone you love is actually counter-productive. With you to act as their ears, why would they seek treatment for their hearing loss?

Stop repeating yourself, raising your voice, and acting as messenger. Rather, involve the entire family in your efforts to help your loved one hear independently of your help. A concerted effort can help your loved one finally admit s/he has a hearing problem.

Explain to your loved one with hearing loss—in a calm, loving voice without condemnation—that you will no longer repeat yourselves or raise your voices. Instead, when s/he asks for information to be repeated at greater volume, you will use words like "Hearing Helper" or some other signal to alert him that he is relying on someone else to act as his ears. By doing this, you help him realize how often he has to ask for help to hear. Hopefully, the inescapable realization will finally move him to seek treatment for his hearing loss.

"When a family member experiences unaddressed hearing loss, it silently erodes his quality of life—undermining family relationships, interfering with short-term memory, and creeping into virtually every aspect of daily living," says Kochkin. "I encourage anyone who has a loved one with unaddressed hearing loss to make the most self-less New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made. Reach out and stop your loved one from drawing back in isolated silence. Make 2010 the year you help someone you love regain the gift of sound. It’s a New Year’s resolution well worth keeping.”

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