A Guided Conversation about Hearing Loss
Most of us know how to hold a conversation, but we might be apprehensive about a sensitive subject matter like hearing loss. This is why our founder, Bill Schiffmiller, who has profound hearing loss, created “How to Talk About Hearing Loss” hearing guides. In fact, his passion inspired four of them, plus a helpful audiologist guide.
The hearing guides premiered last year, and we’ve revised them for 2021. There is new information in each guide that addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts those with hearing loss. From talking points and conversation starters to technical questions and tips, each guide is designed to help you feel comfortable talking about hearing loss.
All the guides together, create a series. The series addresses talking to a parent, teen, or family member about hearing loss. Also, there is a guide that addresses best practices when talking to someone with hearing loss. Moreover, our guide, “Questions You Should Ask Your Audiologist”, prepares an individual or caregiver for their next audiologist appointment. Whether for an initial appointment or a clinical follow-up, asking the right questions builds confidence for one to hear well and be well.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Did you know that age-related hearing loss (or presbycusis) is a common problem as one enters their golden years? One in three adults over age 65 has hearing loss. Because it is gradual, some people don’t realize it is happening or they grow accustomed to it. A spouse or child could be the first to notice, but might not know how to start the conversation. That’s why we created “How to Talk to Your Parent about Hearing Loss”.
Aging parents often associate hearing loss with a loss of independence and they are understandably reluctant to acknowledge it. Also, a parent might worry about the expense of getting and maintaining a hearing aid. Depending on the health insurance coverage, there could be out of pocket costs that are not always affordable on a fixed income. Working through the process together is an opportunity to connect and better understand the next chapter in both of your lives.
Congenital Hearing Loss
Hearing loss isn’t always gradual. Thousands of children are born each year with congenital hearing loss. Our hope is that our guide “How to Talk to Your Teen about Hearing Loss” allows you to revisit the conversation of hearing loss with several new strategies that may get your teen talking!
They are growing up in an ever changing world, and hearing loss aside, their lives are complex. Maybe they would enjoy learning about role models, like actors, musicians, and athletes who also have hearing loss. Or maybe they have a desire to help someone younger with similar needs. As a parent, we want to affirm our children and most importantly, let them know how much they are loved!
Your Hearing Loss
But what if the person with hearing loss is YOU? The guide, “How to Talk to Your Family about Your Hearing Loss” provides a starting point and gives suggestions on how to communicate with those you love about what you are experiencing. Remember, taking action is key. Also, establishing and fostering a relationship with a trusted audiologist is critical to hearing wellness!
The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Admitting hearing loss isn’t easy, but the silver lining is improved communication and stronger relationships with your family.
How to Speak So You Are Heard
Lastly, “How to Talk to Someone With Hearing Loss” explores best practices for communicating with someone who has hearing loss. Millions of people live with hearing loss. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate nearly 30 million Americans could benefit from using a hearing aid. But, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80% of them do not use one.
Acknowledging these statistics, Akoio developed this guide in hopes that it will educate the public on the importance of tone, active listening, and the overall conversation setting. These minor adjustments can make a BIG difference when communicating. Many of these practices will improve communication with everyone—whether they have hearing loss or not.
Better Communication is Your Guide to Hearing Wellness
Living better with hearing loss is a journey. Admitting hearing loss isn’t easy, but the reward is great. Better communication and stronger relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors is worth it!
At Akoio we want YOU to Conquer Life! Follow us on Facebook and we urge you to join our FREE online community. Please share your member story with us! You will help others going through a similar situation and surprisingly, you might enjoy the process.