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

If you realize someone you love has hearing loss what should you do. Hearing loss commonly goes overlooked by those who have it and that makes it much more difficult to talk about. Ignoring this difficult problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be improved by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these guidelines.

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

You should comprehend the problem first before you are able to explain it. As people grow older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

This kind of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. To put it simply, years of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. These hair cells create electrical messages that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by all of these.

Make a Date

The place where you decide to have a talk with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is the best bet. Find a place that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. Bringing literature on the topic is also quite helpful. For instance, the doctor might have a brochure that describes presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a delicate matter. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. Older people fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member may express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what to do. Ask questions that can motivate this person to continue talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be difficult to get past. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Talk to them about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the conversation. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.