Do you think you may have hearing loss? Maybe you’re starting to realize that your hearing isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be. Talking about your hearing loss with your loved ones is important, and how you disclose your hearing loss is more important than you think.
How Do You Talk About Your Hearing Loss?
In a recent study by Jessica West and colleagues in Boston, Massachusetts, researchers asked people how they talk about their hearing loss. The team of researchers collected survey data from 337 people to find out why talking about hearing loss is important.
They discovered that most people used 1 of 3 disclosure methods to talk about their hearing loss. They also found that the disclosure method used is closely related to health outcomes and overall quality of life. The disclosure method used can lead to more or less social and instrumental support from family and friends, so how you talk about your hearing loss matters.
West and colleagues analyzed the data, and called the first group non-disclosers. These adults don’t like talking about their hearing loss at all. In fact, most non-disclosures won’t mention their hearing loss. Instead, they’ll put the blame on others, using phrases like “why are you talking so quietly?” or “can’t you speak up!” Non-disclosures don’t talk about their hearing loss, and don’t ask for support from family and friends.
Using this disclosure method leaves everyone feeling frustrated. Family members don’t understand why it’s so hard to communicate, and they get tired of repeating themselves. Using the non-disclosure method is linked to poor health outcomes, social isolation, and loneliness.
Basis Disclosure Method
The next group used the basis disclosure method. If you’re a basic discloser, you will sometimes talk about your hearing loss, or disclose that you’re having a hard time hearing. You may say things like “I’m having a hard time hearing you” or “my hearing isn’t as good as it once was.” Basis disclosures will talk about their hearing with close family members and friends, but not with everyone. They may not feel ready to get hearing aids.
The basis disclosure method is linked to somewhat better health outcomes. These older adults may receive some social and instrumental support from family at home. But they will still struggle to communicate in a number of settings where no one knows they have hearing loss.
Multipurpose Disclosure Method
The third group of disclosers use the multipurpose disclosure method. They’re the most open about their hearing loss. If you know you have a hearing loss, and you’re willing to talk about your hearing loss with everyone, you’re a multipurpose discloser. People who use the multipurpose disclosure method are also more likely to ask for help. They can identify why they’re having a hard time hearing, and ask for accommodations. For example, they might say “it’s hard to hear what you’re saying when the TV is on in the background, do you mind turning it off?”
Multipurpose disclosers have the best health outcomes. This is because they’re willing to talk about their hearing loss. If you’re a multipurpose discloser, you’ll have lots of help from your family and friends, and you’re also more likely to treat your hearing loss with quality hearing aids.
What Kind of Discloser Are You?
You can use any of these disclosure methods, or even a combination of more than one method. Women are more likely than men to be multipurpose disclosers, and they’re usually be open with their family and friends about their hearing abilities.
Think about how you’ve been disclosing your hearing loss. If you haven’t opened up about your hearing loss, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your disclosure method, and tell someone about your hearing loss.
Are You Ready to Treat Your Hearing Loss?
If you have hearing loss, it’s time to talk to your family about your hearing. Choose to use the multipurpose disclosure method, and be honest about your hearing loss. Then visit us to find out more about your hearing aid options. Together we’ll find the hearing aids that will match your lifestyle and your hearing needs. With the right hearing devices, you’ll enjoy better communication, easily follow conversations, and hear all the sounds around you.