Supporting Your Loved Ones on World Mental Health Day

Mature man with depressed lookWorld Mental Health day is observed every year on October 10 to promote global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy. The day was first celebrated in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, a worldwide mental health organization. This year’s theme is Psychological First Aid and suggests knowing the basic principles of psychological and social support to provide support to people who are in need of it.

A study by the National Council on Aging found people who were 50 and older with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report having depression and anxiety and were less likely to participate in social activities than those individuals who wore hearing aids. If left untreated hearing loss can take a toll on your well-being.

If a loved one has recently found out they have hearing loss, they might be having a difficult time and experiencing a variety of emotions. Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out the best way to support them. These tips will help you comfort them through this transitional period in their lives.

Do Your Research

Everyone’s listening abilities are different. For example, it may be harder for a person to hear higher-pitched voices or they might be able to hear better in one ear. Finding out the challenges and other details about their hearing loss can let you know how you can help.

Be patient and understanding

A common response that someone with hearing loss has is denial, and people who start to acknowledge that they have hearing loss often will go through a grieving process. Grieving often involves different stages of denial, anger, sadness, fear, and confusion. You can support someone with hearing loss simply by listening to them talk through it and expressing empathy for what they are going through.

Learn practical communication skills

You can improve the flow of communication between you and your loved one by employing practical communication skills, such as:

  • Speaking clearly at a rate that is neither too slow or rapid
  • Being conscious of the volume of your voice
  • Facing the person directly so they can see your face
  • Keeping your hands away from your face
  • Instead of repeating yourself, rephrase your words
  • Getting their attention by using their name before you talk

 

Stay positive

Hearing loss is a condition that has been linked to increased risk of depression, anxiety, social isolation, and other mental health concerns. Although those with hearing loss could benefit from using hearing aids, hearing loss is still one of the most unaddressed health conditions in the United States.

Remain optimistic and remind your loved one of the positive effects of treating their hearing loss. Hearing aid users have reported improvements in their emotional and mental well-being. If your loved one’s hearing isn’t as good as it once was, try talking to them about all the benefits treating their hearing loss can provide.