You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research demonstrates one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
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 engaged, it can initiate 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 people with hearing loss are nearly twice that of a person with normal hearing. People who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. Separation from family and friends is often the consequence. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They may be scared or embarrassed. They may be in denial. In order to identify when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may have to depend on some of the following clues:
- New levels of anxiety in social situations
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding busy places
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Staying away from conversations
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this discussion may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so important. You might need to adjust 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’re worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they may have these objections. This is someone you know well. What obstacles will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.
Be ready with your responses. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Isn’t love all about growing closer?