Father’s Day is a time to celebrate your dad, husband, grandfather, son, and friends. While it usually means grilling out, a game of golf, or watching a sports game, it can also be the perfect opportunity to sit down with your dad to discuss his hearing loss. Here’s how you can talk to your loved ones about hearing loss.
“Dad, do you know the signs of hearing loss?”
Some men may notice their poor hearing, while others do not. One of the ways you can tell he has hearing loss is if your dad constantly turns up the volume on the television. If the sounds seem blaring or deafening to you but normal to him, he may have hearing loss.
In addition to increasing volume, dads with hearing loss have trouble understanding words during conversations. If you find yourself repeating yourself or can’t carry a conversation with your dad in restaurants, outdoor spaces, or bars, hearing loss could be the cause. Because of this isolating issue, many individuals with hearing loss (or their family) notice a decrease in socialization. They fear embarrassing situations where they might mishear a statement or simply prefer the solitude of quiet away from others.
If you notice an uptick in introversion, ask yourself if your dad exhibits any of the other signs of hearing loss. Of course, more obvious signs of hearing loss are pain in the ears, constant ringing, or more extreme balance issues. These are all symptoms of not just hearing loss, but greater issues that need medical attention.
Prevalence of hearing loss in men
Did you know that the NIDOCD found that men are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as women? This is true of people aged 20 to 69. HearingAids.com finds this to be the case because of occupational issues and behavioral risk factors.
Think about professions in construction, farming, machinery, rock music, or metalwork. Workers are exposed to loud sounds quite often, and workers in these industries are usually men. Check out these surprisingly loud occupations as listed by the Audiology Associates of Deerfield.
In addition to louder workplaces, men are also more likely to participate in activities dangerous to their health like smoking, drinking, or unhealthy eating. These health issues directly affect their heart, lungs, and blood pressure, but these conditions also affect hearing. If left untreated, hearing loss only gets worse–and many men have a tendency to let medical issues go untreated due to a self-imposed stigma.
Starting the conversation
When it comes to discussing hearing loss with your dad or grandfather, be sure to come prepared, open, and honest. Check to see if he already has an audiologist or audiogram, and research doctors’ offices nearby in case he wants to see someone new. Research new hearing aids your father may be interested in – they have come a long way!
Research what may have caused his hearing loss in the first place, and be able to explain any terminology and answer his questions. Finally, show him you love him and will support him throughout the process. If you need an inspirational story, check out Lance’s interview where he talks about breaching the topic with his dad and making him feel comfortable with hearing aids. Just one conversation could greatly improve your father’s life.
By: Diana Michel
Sources: NIDOCD, HearingAids.com, Audiology Associates of Deerfield