Do you know someone who is hard of hearing but won’t get their hearing checked?

Do they often say…


‘My hearing isn’t that bad.’

‘I hear what I need to hear.’

‘Other people mumble.’

They are not alone! Research shows that people can take 7 years on average, from the time they 1st start to notice signs of a hearing loss, until they actually take the step to do something about it.

At the same time however, other research shows that people with just a mild hearing loss, if they don’t do anything about it, are twice as likely to develop dementia that those with healthy hearing.


Over the average of the 7 years, your loved one can start to feel frustrated (and frustrate others) constantly saying ‘pardon’, they might feel embarrassed and find it easier to sit back and not take part in the conversation, withdraw or just end up talking all the time so that they don’t actually need to listen at all. 😀


So how can we help our loved ones to take that next step? Here are some suggestions from Heart for Hearing:


  1. Don’t answer for them; show them what they are missing!

As discussed in Curtis Alcock’s paper titled-‘It’s not denial, it’s observation’, if a sound falls outside our hearing range, it ceases to exist. When our loved ones can’t hear, we can start to speak for them, become the translator or may get frustrated with them which isn’t helping them. Don’t let your loved one withdraw, miss out on having those special conversations or not want to socialise. As someone they trust, you can help point out what they are missing out on and create the want for them to start to hear for themselves again.


  1. Don’t show frustrations but rather that you care….and then LISTEN.

Discussing hearing loss is an emotional topic so try not to say ‘you need to get your hearing checked’ when you are frustrated after needing to repeat what you said a number of times. Instead, try to sit down with them in a relaxed environment, stick to observations without attacks, discuss the things that you have noticed they are missing out on and ask them how they feel about it. Share why you want them to get their hearing checked and listen to why they may feel apprehensive- you may be surprised about their response and it can open up a great discussion and give you better understanding too.


  1. Give them time after sharing your observations.

Your loved one may or may not have been aware of the observations you shared and/or may still be trying to process the conversation you had with them. Give them time to start to notice the signs that you shared for themselves and then touch base with them again in a few months. As mentioned, it takes on average 7 years for people to take action however starting the conversation with them earlier, can bring it to the front of their mind and help them to take action sooner.


  1. Let them experience how well they could hear.

Once they have their hearing checked, if they do have a hearing loss and are apprehensive about taking the next step of getting help, encourage them to do a free trial of a hearing aid or assistive listening device, which is recommended by the audiologist. By doing this, they can experience the benefit for themselves, without the pressure of paying for the devices upfront.


Please feel free to contact Heart for Hearing to get links to any articles or research papers discussed.