A Friend Needs to Hear Better
Q. A very close girl friend for the past 30 years needs help hearing better. She has slowly withdrawn herself from our group’s activities and events and has become more anxious and frustrated when we meet. I try to talk with her about it, but she says she hears fine. How can I convince her to get some help?
A. Some people are very resistant about addressing their hearing problems. Good information can help overcome many of their worries. They might fear they have cognitive/dementia-like problems. They might be worried about what other people will think of them if they use hearing aids. And they might know someone who has had a bad experience using hearing aids.
Explain the difference to her between hearing and understanding. Yes, she ‘hears’. But she is bound to realize she has trouble understanding what she hears. Hearing aids clarify what’s being said because they ‘boost’ only the parts of speech she misses.
Explain she is being missed. You and your broader group of friends miss her participation. She may have retreated from events because her hearing loss reduces her enjoyment of them. Smiling and nodding is not enjoyment. Hearing better will reinvigorate her and reconnect her to her social circle.
Support her. Offer to attend a hearing test appointment with her. Your voice can be used during the testing process. More importantly, if she listens to hearing aids, she can tell how much clearer your voice becomes with them on. It’s a win-win.