Living in denial is perhaps the largest hurdle toward overcoming hearing loss. A person suffering from this problem usually dismisses it as something untrue and not happening at all. Even when people around tell them that, they are dismissive about suggestions to check with an audiologist. On being pushed, someone with hearing impairment can become aggressive to the point of breaking away from relationships. It is not easy to handle someone around you who is sinking into the problem of hearing loss.
You want to help. However, you cannot break through their glass walls of denial. If you push too hard, you are going to hurt the person. At the same time, you cannot accept the role of a bystander, because you know that the person will sink deeper. What you need is a bit of hearing loss advocacy. It is a term used to define the effort of people around a person suffering from this problem to break the news to them and help them get help.
Consider this example and you will get a better view of this concept. Krishna’s uncle is pushing 40. He’s a little hard of hearing, cocking his ears at sounds and voices a shade lower than the normal decibel range. Krishna, a college kid, knows that her uncle needs help. She has tried to break the news to her uncle, hinting that he might be facing problems picking up some words. He steadfastly denies it, excusing himself by saying that he didn’t hear it because he was not paying attention. As time progressed, he started distancing himself from interacting with Krishna, slowly moving away each time they came together in the same room.
This is a clear case of hearing loss advocacy gone wrong. While Krishna’s role is tough, it is also important to get it right. No one likes to know that they have hearing loss, much less that they need to use hearing aids. These devices are not trendy or fashionable like eyewear.
It is important for a hearing loss advocate to follow some ground rules. For example, never humiliate or bring up this topic when you are around people. Keep these interactions strictly private and confidential. Build up trust and try to inject gravity into the discussion, without causing alarm. It is a very thin line to tread but this is an issue requiring careful handling. You can do some research on hearing loss to make your case and point. You can also speak to our team at Bengal Speech for ideas.