You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research shows one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
This inaction results in difficulty hearing, along with higher dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Studies have observed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates amongst individuals with hearing loss are almost double that of a person with healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. The individual might begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or shame may be an issue for them. Perhaps they’re going through denial. You might need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, such as:
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Irritation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Staying away from conversations
- Watching TV with the volume really high
Plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you detect any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion might not be easy. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss appropriately. The steps will be the basically same even though you might have to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. In addition, research has shown that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may effect your relationship. If someone has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People connect with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any point during the process, they might have these objections. You know this person. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. You may even practice them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?