Your spouse's hearing loss is a difficult journey for both of you. Your spouse is facing their own fears, societal barriers and stereotypes, and denial as part of their journey. Some experts say that dealing with hearing loss follows the same coping pattern as the death of a loved one in which denial is the first step. Others say it is simply easier for those with hearing loss to deny the problem. This can be very frustrating for you as you find yourself repeating things, talking louder, or translating what someone else has said. Fortunately, there are approaches you can take to gently guide your spouse past denial and into positive change.
Let them know how you feel
Usually, talking to them about their problem will cause them to feel defensive and shut down. If you speak to them about how their hearing loss affects you, instead, you are much more likely to get a positive response. Gently let them know, for example, how tiring it is to have to repeat everything you say.
Help them combat their fears
It is also important to help them address their fears that are keeping them from getting the help they need. Rather than compare them to other hearing impaired persons who have sought treatment, rely on other hearing impaired persons’ success stories instead.
Be sure to remind them of all the positive things that can come out of seeking treatment, such as no longer feeling isolated or depressed. You can also tell them that proper treatment may prevent brain atrophy and dementia.
Help them become fully aware of the situation
You also need to create awareness of how often they ask for help. Many times they don't realize just how often you are repeating things until you kindly tell them each time that it happens.
While engaging in these strategies, remember that a positive attitude and patience are the key. When your spouse is ready to seek treatment, it is important for them to speak to a trained professional who can guide them to the best solutions for their particular type and severity of hearing loss.
The Silverstein Institute is the world's leading research center for diagnosing and treating hearing loss and has three locations in Florida: Sarasota, Venice and Lakewood Ranch. We have over 50 medical experts available with a wide range of expertise to meet your particular situation. When your spouse is ready, contact us to help you through this process.