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How To Encourage A Loved One To Address Their Hearing Loss

Sep 22, 2021 | Blog

After being an Audiologist for several years now, a familiar theme occurs almost daily.  When asking a patient about their hearing they say “I think I hear fine, but my {wife, husband, kids, etc} are complaining that I don’t hear them”.  The family member has noticed that the patient isn’t hearing well long before the patient becomes aware of any difficulty.  This begs the question from loved ones:  What can I do to help my loved one recognize they’re having trouble hearing?

First, recognizing that there can be a stigma attached to hearing loss is helpful.  Many individuals see a hearing problem as an indicator they are “getting old”.  Hearing loss is not isolated to the elderly!  In fact, a 2017 study estimated that 3% of individuals between 30-39 have a significant hearing loss with prevalence jumping to 14.7% in the next decade of live – 40-49 years of age.  By the time an individual is between 60-69 years old, the prevalence of hearing loss is estimated at 50.1%. This clearly shows that hearing difficulties are not just something that occurs in the elderly.  When you factor in gender, environmental factors such as noise exposure (both recreational and occupational) as well as health factors such as hypertension and diabetes, prevalence increases as well.

Secondly, hearing difficulties truly are difficult to recognize at times.  It is easy to turn the television volume up, lean into a conversation to hear well, assume that a child is mumbling, etc. because even people with normal hearing have difficulty in certain situations and with certain people’s voices.  In our practice, it often takes a very dramatic change in hearing – such as an ear infection or very important meeting/conversation for someone to recognize that they’re having a problem.

Another way to encourage a loved one to get a hearing test is to schedule one for both of you.  It may make them more comfortable to not go alone since there is strength in numbers!  Also, since hearing loss is fairly common, as we saw above, having your hearing tested as well can either establish a baseline for future tests or identify a problem you hadn’t recognized either.

Finally, where to start? The first step is to have a hearing test by a licensed Audiologist.  Contact one of our offices to schedule your appointment.  Our dedicated front office staff can walk you through any insurance requirements and work with your schedule to find a convenient time.  Our Audiologists at the Oklahoma Hearing Center will ask questions about your hearing and health history, perform a comprehensive hearing assessment that includes both how well you hear tones and understand speech, and go over your results with you.  If you need a referral to an ear, nose, throat specialist after the test, you will be assisted in making an appointment with one of our physicians.   If your Audiologist recommends amplification (hearing aids), a formal consultation will commence or be scheduled.

If you have any other questions about how to proceed, give us a call at 405-546-4280.  We look forward to working with you!


  1. Hoffman HJ, Dobie RA, Losonczy KG, Themann CL, Flamme GA. Declining Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adults Aged 20 to 69 Years. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.2017;143(3):274–285. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.3527