Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should you do. It’s not an easy thing to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

You need to understand the problem first before you are able to clarify it. The chances of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical name for this form of ear damage. It generally occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone detected it, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. Basically, years of listening to sound eventually breaks down the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are generated that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

All of these can harm the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

Where you choose to talk to your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is your best bet. Select a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. Bring with you whatever written material you can on the subject too. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive matter. Growing older is a tough thing to accept. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can motivate this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

The most difficult obstacle is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t understand they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to cope with the same issue.

Bring Solutions

The most crucial part of this talk is going to be what to do next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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