When people experience a loss of hearing, whether it be mild or a more serious loss, it can often be overwhelming. They have to learn to navigate a completely new world. Something that can make a big difference in their lives is having a support system. Here are some ways you can be that support for your loved one.
First, just let them know that you are there for them. You don’t have to baby them, especially if it’s a parent, a spouse, or a peer, because they will probably want to remain as independent as possible. So be there for them, but let them dictate how this new stage in your lives goes.
On a more practical note, when you speak to them, first try to minimize distractions. If the hearing loss is new, they may prefer to speak in private first. Turn down any background noise, like a loud television or stereo. Sit closely to them, but respect their personal space. Look directly at them when you speak, making sure to speak clearly and slowly.
You don’t have to yell at them, because doing so can distort what you’re saying. However, you can speak a little louder than normal if that feels comfortable for you both. You might also want to consider rephrasing what you say to use words that are easier to understand.
If they’re wearing a hearing aid, they will likely need a period of adjustment. Allow them the space to get used to wearing and using it. However, whether they are using an aid or not, above all, the most important quality you should have is patience. This is a new experience for you both and patience and a sense of humor can go a long way.