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If you are reading this it is because you suspect that someone you care about might have a hearing loss. And you want to help. In order to do this, you need a clear idea of what it means to have hearing loss – how it affects family relationships and the way people feel, behave and communicate. Hearing is an easy thing to take for granted. Occasionally we might miss a few words because we are not paying attention or it is noisy, but generally we move around effortlessly in different environments, talking one-to-one, in groups, over the phone; listening to the radio or TV, without giving it a second thought. Things are not nearly as easy with a hearing loss.
It is difficult to converse in a crowded room or over the phone. It is not that things are not always loud enough, but that they are not clear enough. People often claim that there would not be a problem if others would just stop mumbling. Sounds fade so gradually that they can disappear unnoticed, for example when the birds stop chirping. Left untreated, hearing loss can affect relationships between the person affected and their family and friends, quietly eroding their quality of life. That is why it is important to motivate your loved one to get their hearing tested and to take the necessary action, and to learn how you can help with any communication difficulties.