02 January 2018

When a relative has a hearing loss

If you are a relative of a person who may have an untreated hearing loss and the person is not aware that they are hard of hearing, you can help.

How to address the issue

When somebody you know may have an untreated hearing loss, you will probably notice changes in his/her social behaviour. Therefore, you can look for certain signs of hearing loss.

Many studies have shown that close relatives are among the most influential persons when something is to be done about a person’s hearing problems. So, if you are a close relative or friend to a person with a hearing loss, you can help.

One of the best ways to approach the issue is by making the person aware of the signs of hearing loss. The best way to do this is to give examples.

If the TV or radio is turned up too loud. If the person has difficulty hearing or following a conversation when many people are together, for example in a meeting or a dinner. If the person often misunderstands what is being said, often asks people to repeat themselves - or says "what?".

A delicate subject

A hearing loss can be a delicate subject and maybe your relative or friend is not aware that he/she has a hearing problem. Therefore, it is very important that the person who talks about the problem for the first time is somebody that the person with hearing loss trusts and is confident with.

Holidays and family gatherings

Celebrations of holidays and other family gatherings can be a challenge for a person who is hard of hearing. It is often at such occasions that relatives notice that someone close might have a hearing problem.

If you notice that a person does not really participate in the conversation, misunderstands what is being said, removes themselves, seems absent or tired, this could be a sign of a hearing problem.

Relatives also affected by a hearing loss

Several scientific studies have found that relatives to a person with a hearing loss are also affected by the hearing loss. Spouses are mostly affected, but also other family members and friends are affected.


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