One of the truisms you might have heard about hearing loss is that there is nothing that can be done to cure it. Although research is underway to discover if regenerating the cells of the inner ear might be possible, it is true that the current state of the art cannot repair or restore these cells once they are damaged. Knowing that hearing loss is irreversible might make you think there is nothing you can do to help someone who struggles to hear. On the contrary, there are some things that those with hearing loss would like you to know. You can take some practical steps to help, and being aware of the realities of hearing loss is one powerful step you can take to make life easier for all involved.

1. You can help.

Each person’s experience of hearing loss is unique. Some people struggle to hear in a room full of chattering voices, while others have trouble with a specific frequency range of speech. If you have a loved one with hearing loss, there are steps you can take to help, but they are unique to each individual. The first step you can take is to open up the conversation about hearing loss. You will learn a lot from your loved one about what makes it difficult to hear. With that in mind, the best step you can take is to ask precisely how you can help. You might discover that your loved one has a specific request in mind that can make it easier to hear. For some people, this request might be to stand on the side with the “good ear,” and others might want you to speak more loudly.

2. Hearing loss isn’t related to intelligence.

Though few people would come out and say so, many seem to abide by the myth that hearing loss requires you to simplify your language. Although it is true that some people want you to slow down your speech and articulate words more clearly, that doesn’t mean that you need to treat a person with hearing loss like a child. When you work to accommodate hearing loss, you don’t need to use shorter words or less complex ideas in your speech. Even if you know that hearing loss is unrelated to intelligence, make sure you aren’t accidentally talking down to the person with hearing loss. Your style of speech might be making them feel insulted.

3. Hearing loss is exhausting.

Sometimes, you might notice a person with hearing loss mentally drifting off in the middle of a conversation. This tendency can happen for a number of reasons, but one common reason is that conversation is quite exhausting for someone with hearing loss. The struggle to keep up with the conversation, particularly when there is background noise and multiple speakers at once, can make a person feel fatigued and even mentally checked out. When the difficulties of communication add up, some people would rather pretend they aren’t there at all, allowing their minds to drift off and lose attention in the conversation. This tendency can have bad effects on brain health, so be sure to talk to your loved one about what you can do to make the conversation less tiring.

4. You can support the treatment process.

Although accommodation strategies are very helpful for some people with hearing loss, the only durable solution is to seek treatment from a hearing health professional. Some people find that their hearing loss gets worse with time, and many will find themselves in situations where the best accommodation strategies aren’t enough. The best thing you can do to support a loved one with hearing loss is to provide support through the process of seeking treatment. You might want to begin with a conversation about the options that are out there.

Once your loved one is ready, you can help make the appointment Contact Usfor a hearing test and accompany your loved one to the visit. When you go through the process side-by-side, your moral support and an extra set of listening ears will help make sure that no information is lost. Don’t hesitate to help your loved one get treatment!