Is your loved one visiting the audiologist for the first time? You can make them more comfortable and confident just by accompanying them to the appointment. You can also help them get more out of their visit by taking notes in case they miss anything and by helping them find answers to important issues. Below are three examples of questions to ask your loved one’s audiologist, as adapted from The National Patient Safety Foundation’s “Ask Me 3” patient education program*:
1. How much hearing loss does my loved one have and what caused it? Hearing loss has a wide variety of causes and degrees**. In some cases, the loss may be a result of gradual ear wax buildup and can be resolved by simply removing the wax. In other cases, the hearing loss may be a result of damage to the inner ear from aging or prolonged noise exposure, or might indicate the need for additional tests....
If you have a loved one with hearing loss, you can take small actions to make a big difference in how well they understand conversations. That’s because their understanding depends not only on their specific type of hearing loss, hearing device use and surroundings, but also on factors like their attention level, emotional state, expectations and fatigue*.
If you know someone with hearing loss, the following tips* may help you communicate with them:
1. Avoid noisy background situations and get your loved one’s attention before you speak. If they enter a group in the middle of a conversation, help them join in by summing up the gist of the conversation for them.
2. When you speak to your loved one, face them and speak clearly, at a moderate pace. Don’t shout. If they have trouble understanding you, try rephrasing your words.
3. Give visual clues when changing the subject.
4. Use facial expressions and gestures but don’t exaggerate them. Stay patient, positive and relaxed. If your loved one is tired, a break may boost their attention and motivation to listen.
5. Try not to put objects in front of your face. Chewing gum or food when you speak can also make it harder for someone with hearing loss to read your lips....
For Sydney mother Fiona Mann, 38, the most devastating consequence of her hearing loss was her inability to hear her young children at night – naturally, a huge concern for any parent. Traditional hearing aids must be removed before the wearer goes to sleep, meaning Fiona was unable to hear anything, less her children after she retired to bed. “My husband often travels with work and I’m alone with my kids overnight. Taking out my aids before I went to sleep was a worry, especially if a smoke alarm or baby monitor was to go unheard,” says Fiona.
Suffering from hereditary hearing loss for most of her life, Fiona had all but given up finding a hearing aid that provided her with quality, natural hearing – day AND night! That was up until recently, when Lyric landed on Aussie shores – the world’s first ‘invisible’, extended-wear hearing aid.
Hailed ‘the contact lens for your ear’, Lyric, which measures 16mm, is inserted deep inside the ear canal by a hearing health professional and is completely invisible from the outside. Lyric remains in the ear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be worn for up to four months at a time, allowing users to shower, swim , talk on the phone and, crucially for Fiona and other parents, Lyric users can sleep whilst wearing their hearing aids....
If you knew you could improve your relationship with a loved one, wouldn’t you? As Professor Dr. Martin Ohlmeier, a specialist in neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy puts it, “Relatives rightly have a claim to be able, and be allowed, to communicate with their partner or family member. In practice, it is not uncommon for conflict to arise when the relatives can no longer put into practice what is necessary to maintain the relationship they have been used to sharing. To put it another way: the partner has a right to an acceptable level of communication in the relationship.”*
If your spouse and children are consistently acting as your interpreters, or find themselves constantly repeating themselves, you might experience strains on your relationship. Because of this, treating even minor hearing loss can make a major difference. In a recent survey** of family members of people who wear Lyric hearing devices, the benefits of treating hearing loss were abundantly clear:
• 96% of respondents indicated that Lyric helped them better communicate with the wearer
• 64% credited Lyric with an improvement in their relationship with the wearer
• 94% said they would recommend Lyric hearing aids to other family members.