How to Support a Loved One with Hearing Loss

Sponsored By: Hearing Care of Summerville

Hearing loss is more than an ear problem. It’s a total health and wellness problem, affecting our quality of life, daily interactions and relationships.

And it’s totally treatable.

That’s why Dr. Hollie Bahen, an audiologist at Hearing Care of Summerville, wants families to know that their support and advocacy is the most important thing a hearing-impaired loved one can hear.

The average person waits seven to ten years to get treatment for hearing loss,” she says. “But, untreated hearing loss can cause a person to lose confidence, withdraw socially, become isolated or even depressed. What appears to be memory loss or dementia may actually be hearing loss.”

More than 44 million U.S. adults ages 20 and older will have “clinically meaningful” hearing loss by the year 2020, and that’s expected to double by 2060, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology.

There seems to be a social stigma to hearing loss that isn’t associated with vision loss, perhaps because it is associated with advancing age. So, Dr. Bahen recommends that loved ones encourage friends and family members with hearing issues to get checked.

Here are four interventions that you can do for a loved one with hearing loss:

1. Share your concerns about their hearing with them. Be tactful and be aware that it’s normal for people to become defensive when you bring up the subject. No one likes to admit it’s their hearing that’s a problem.

2. Encourage them to visit a hearing expert, but don’t get into an argument about it. That’s a lose-lose battle. Mention it and then move to the next step.

3. Call and schedule an appointment with a local audiologist. Then, let your loved one know you did it for them. Most people appreciate your concern and will come in to talk and get a hearing test.

4. However, they may refuse to go, which tells you that this isn’t a priority for them or their pride is still getting in the way. Remind them that if the hearing tests show they don’t have a hearing loss, then it’s good news and little time wasted.

Bahen offers another trick that often works: suggest your loved one get a baseline test, just as you would with blood work or vision. That can lead to treatment without the presumption that the individual has a hearing problem.

An uncomplicated solution to most cases of hearing loss is a hearing aid. It can be small and inconspicuous or brightly-colored so everyone knows to speak up and face the listener.

Many patients are overwhelmed once they finally get the hearing aid, even if they were reluctant at the start. “I’ve had people break down and cry when they realized how much they had been missing,” Bahen says. “They realize they can stay connected and have a much better life experience.”

The support of family and friends doesn’t stop there. Some people with hearing loss need added encouragement to wear the hearing aid. Then it’s important to remind them how much hearing improves their life.

If you or a loved one has hearing loss, consult a local expert like the team at Hearing Care of Summerville.

The experts at Hearing Care of Summerville are dedicated to helping patients connect with friends and family through improved hearing. They offer a full range of diagnostic and preventive hearing services, including hearing aid screenings, evaluations, hearing aids and rehabilitation.

To learn more, visit online at, call (843) 871-9669 or stop by the office at 107A W. 5th North Street, Summerville, SC.