Hearing loss is a family issue

Hearing loss affects every member of the family, not just the person who suffers from it. Communication becomes a problem and frustrations creep in.

One woman discussed her experience after she attended an audiology appointment at Audiology Medical Services with her mother.

"Mum was a little nervous, a bit apprehensive, and glad to have another ‘pair of ears’ there in case there was a lot of information to take in," she recalled. "The audiologist was keen to listen to mum’s concerns but also wanted to know if I had noticed anything amiss recently."

If the person with hearing loss has withdrawn from their social circle, family members may be concerned. There can be an element of denial involved. However denial is fed by a misunderstanding of how hearing loss works.

Run-of-the-mill acquired hearing loss is rarely about volume, it is nearly always about balance in sound. Often, someone with hearing loss can hear someone's voice clearly, but they just can't understand some of the words.

If they can hear the voice, surely the problem is that the speaker is not speaking clearly? The actual problem is that someone with hearing loss cannot hear consonants in speech. So, words sound indistinct and mumbled. Family members tend to see what is happening and tell it as it is.

Attending the appointment will help family members to become familiar with your hearing loss. Also, most patients will not make an expensive hearing aid purchase without family input, so they must be included.

For more information call Audiology Medical Services at 1800 501 501, or see www.audiology medicalservices.ie.

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