Many times a patient, coming in for a hearing evaluation, will be accompanied by a family member, and on occasion, due to the severity of the person’s hearing loss the family member will do all the talking for the person. In many cases, the person is used to those accompanying answering for them, maybe they really don’t hear much at all, but they sit there mostly silent, possibly nodding or smiling along with what (they think) is being said, not initiating conversation and only responding to direct questions.
Fast-forward through the hearing evaluation, review of the results, discussion of options of hearing instruments, all with the family member who is still talking for the person in the chair next to me, nodding and smiling.
The person comes back another day, the hearing devices are put in place and I push a button to turn them on. I ask “How are you doing today?” It’s like a switch is flipped. The once silent, nodding, smiling person looks at me and says “I’m doing well!” I asked, “What did you do this weekend?” The family member starts to answer, as they had been used to doing all this time. The person interrupts and says, “Well, we went shopping, I got my hair done, and visited my grand-niece.” The family member sits, silent, smiling and nodding.