You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Regrettably, only around 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important 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. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s decreased activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression cases amongst people with hearing loss are almost double that of an individual with normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. The person may start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst 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 be ready to tell you that they are experiencing hearing loss. They may be afraid or embarrassed. 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 use external cues, including:
- Avoiding conversations
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be hard to have this conversation. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. You may need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could harm your hearing. In addition, studies show that loud noise can create anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
People connect with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might occur anywhere in the process. This is someone you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? 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.
Prepare your counter responses. Maybe you practice them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?