Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Depression cases among those with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. Separation from family and friends is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They may be nervous or ashamed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. In order to identify when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work may be necessary.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, including:
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- New levels of anxiousness in social settings
- Staying away from conversations
- Watching TV with the volume really high
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. A companion in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss appropriately. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, research has shown that loud noise can cause anxiety, which might effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
People engage with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing assessment. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These could happen anywhere in the process. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. You may even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Isn’t love all about growing together?