Disclosure strategies that help open communication about hearing loss
Do you have hearing loss? Are you afraid to talk about it, or to tell your loved ones how you feel? We understand. Opening up about your hearing loss can be scary, and you’re worried about how the family will respond. It may also be difficult with colleagues at work. Will they judge you? Will they start treating you differently?
We’ve been doing this a while, and can say with confidence that it’s never as bad as you imagine. Your family loves and supports you, and will help you in your journey back to hearing. Moreover, hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States – which means most people know someone with a hearing loss. Getting hearing aids will improve your communication, give you back your independence, and lead to great mental and physical outcomes. You can get back to being yourself. Are you still worried about starting that conversation?
How to Talk About Your Hearing Loss
There are several ways you can start a conversation about hearing loss. Which way you choose will affect how you experience your hearing loss, and how much help you’ll get from family and friends. Three strategies for disclosing your hearing loss to loved ones is discussed in a study by researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. You can read more about the study at
The first way of disclosing your hearing loss is to, well, not disclose your hearing loss. Non-disclosers refuse to talk openly about their struggle, avoid mentioning it, and get defensive if anyone mentions hearing loss. Do you say things like “I can’t hear you”, or constantly ask your friends to repeat themselves without telling them you are struggling with hearing loss? You’re practicing non-disclosure, and this will lead to frustration for you and your loved ones.
Basis Disclosers are a little further ahead than non-disclosers. They do sometimes talk about their hearing loss, but only in certain situations. For example, when out at a noisy restaurant they might complain about their hearing loss, but they won’t give many details, or talk about it when they’re at home and it’s quiet. This is nonproductive, and they still have to struggle on their own.
Those with the best health outcomes, most satisfying relationships, and greatest quality of life are Multipurpose Disclosers. These folks talk openly about their hearing loss and their struggles, don’t resist seeking treatment, and involve their family in finding solutions. A Multipurpose Discloser would have no problem asking someone to move to a quieter room so they can hear better.
Who Does It Best?
The study found that Multipurpose Disclosers, out of the three groups, had the easiest time dealing with their hearing loss. By involving family and friends and being open about their struggle, they didn’t have to fight hearing loss alone.
While you might think it’s embarrassing to ask someone to speak into your good ear, or ask the group to pick a quiet restaurant for dinner, you’ll soon see that your loved ones are more than willing to accommodate you. They want you to be able to fully participate in conversations, and understand what’s happening around you. Family support also played a big role in setting up appointments for hearing tests, and for following through with treatment options.
Go ahead, open up about your hearing loss! Give us a call to schedule your first consultation.