You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Regrettably, only about 30% of these people actually use their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
People with hearing loss have almost twice as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The individual might begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They could be afraid or ashamed. They might be in denial. You may need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to use outward cues, like:
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- Staying away from conversations
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be difficult to have this talk. A companion in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an elevated chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of effective communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. After deciding, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they could 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? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter responses. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?