Hearing Services of Nashville

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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what? It’s not an easy subject to bring up because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this difficult issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be bettered by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.

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

First of all, you should comprehend what is happening yourself so you are able to describe it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one in every three people have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the scientific name for this form of ear damage. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was detected.

There are numerous reasons presbycusis happens. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. These hair cells create electrical signals that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

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

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is the best bet. To make sure you won’t be interrupted, choose a quiet venue. Bring along whatever literature you can on the subject too. Presbycusis may be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate topic because it is associated with growing old. It’s hard to accept that you are getting older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Sit Back and Listen

After you have said what needs to be said, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what they should do. Ask questions that will encourage this person to keep talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

The greatest challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t understand that they have family and friends on their side and feel isolated with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to deal with the same problem.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this discussion is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Finally, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. 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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