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How can I get my dad to stop denying that he has a hearing loss and do something about it?

by Susan Fenrich

This is a question that I get asked a lot.  My usual response is “stop raising your voice to him—he will never realize he can’t hear if you increase your volume. He thinks you sound “normal”.

(Courtesy of morgueFile)

Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.  Former Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute has some very good advice in his article:  “Stop being the ears of people with hearing loss denial”.  The following are some excerpts from this article.

“One of the most aggravating aspects of living with an individual with hearing loss, who is in denial (everyone mumbles they say), is constantly repeating yourself, speaking louder, or interpreting the world for them. There is a way to release yourself from this maddening co-dependent relationship and at the same time to motivate your loved one to seek help for their hearing loss.”

Sergei encourages all people caught in the trap of being the ears for their loved one to read    Dr. Richard Carmen's book:  “How hearing loss impacts relationships: Motivating your loved one.” 

Sergei then summarizes some of the key aspects of Dr. Carmen’s book:

  1. “Understand that being the ears of your loved one is not an act of love.” 
  2. “Assisting loved ones in denial is counterproductive and encourages co-dependent relationships. Continuing to give help could lead to your loved one's failure in life as well as impact many aspects of their quality of life such as performance on the job. It is important you understand the areas impacted by untreated hearing loss as documented on the Better Hearing Institute website.”
  3. “And remember if you continue to help them why should they seek help?”
  4. “Make it your ULTIMATE goal to have your loved one hear independent of you; and don't do it alone. Get your entire family and their friends in your corner in a productive conspiracy to get your loved one in denial to finally realize they have a hearing problem.”
  5. “Dr. Carmen's practical tips are: STOP repeating yourself! STOP raising your voice! STOP being the messenger by carrying the communication load for the family! In essence this means, STOP BEING THEIR EARS! “

This may sound like a really “mean” way to go about it—but believe me since hearing loss is so gradual your dad may not really know he is hard of hearing. Once he realizes just how bad his hearing is encourage him to seek professional help .  In my next article I will give you an example of an intervention that you might be able to use.

(References courtesy of The Better Hearing Institute)

The content contributions of Welsch Hearing Aid Company should not be considered by anyone as a substitute for medical or other hearing health professional diagnosis, treatment, advice, or recommendations.