It can be hard to admit when our bodies aren’t working as well as they used to. Hearing loss is a common example, as it often develops so gradually that it can be hard to notice. “Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States,” audiologist Anna Bzdok says. “It affects about 37.5 million people. In adults over the age of 60, approximately one in three people have hearing loss.”

So, chances are you or someone you know has a loved one who has hearing loss. Like other health conditions, hearing loss is treatable, but what do we do when a loved one resists the idea of treatment?

This question formed the basis of our conversation with Dr. Bzdok on the For Health’s Sake podcast. We covered topics like:

  • The first signs and symptoms of hearing loss
  • How untreated hearing loss can affect your health
  • How to talk to a loved one about their hearing loss
  • What happens at an audiology appointment
  • The health benefits of hearing aids

Take a patient and loving approach

It may not be easy to convince your loved one to see an audiologist about their hearing loss. “This conversation may not happen today,” Dr. Bzdok points out. “It might take smaller conversations, and definitely time and patience. Your loved ones might have anxiety about this … so it’s important to make sure you give [them] a chance to express their needs and feelings, too.”

Once they’re ready, an audiologist can create a personalized treatment plan for them that will improve both their hearing and their quality of life.