Most of time when we are dealing with a person with Hearing Impairments, we consider it to be an individualist problem. We follow the process of associated with hearing loss, such as : Assessment, Analysis and Evaluations, Recommending a solution, Rehabilitation, Re-adjustment from the perspective of the the individual with hearing impairment.
In truth, the family of such an individual also suffers alongwith.
Living with an hearing impaired person, the family goes through the phases of confusions, irritations, family fights, and compassion at times alongwith the person. If the family is so closely associated both in terms of suffering and positive outcomes from the use of hearing aids, then as an audiologist we need to change our single minded focus from a hearing impaired person to the entire family.
The starting point wherein we can seek a valuable contribution from the family is in terms of Hearing Loss Evaluation, which ironically has two sides to it. Talking to a hearing impaired person, gives his perspective which is too optimistic and talking to family gives a pessimistic view of problem. Somewhere in the middle lies the “truth”. Knowing this has dual advantages at a later stage of counseling : ‘What to expect from hearing aid’.
The involvement of family is of paramount importance for the kind of influence they have on the hearing aid wearer. A positive environment with positive reinforcements, has proven to do wonders both scientifically and emotionally for the hearing aid user, helping him coping with the device and ‘getting used’ to it.
Involving ‘family’ at all stages if important for helping them understand what the hearing impaired person is going through as a result of his hearing loss. This would enable them to have an emphatic view of the situation. Some companies do provide with Hearing Loss Simulators, specifically designed for the ‘family’ who comes alongwith hearing impaired person.
On the way to recovery and rehabilitation, counseling hearing impaired person on the lines of ‘aural rehab principles’ is important for him to adapt quickly and effectively to the hearing aids. However doing this alongwith ‘family’ enhances the effectiveness manifolds, for he has the round the clock support of family in helping him adapt to the new hearing aids. Statistics proves a high adaptation and acclimatization rate in such cases
The hearing impaired person, alongwith his family, both aspire for a comfortable life, involving them can help reach this goal faster.