You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
According to research, millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Studies have observed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates among people with hearing loss are almost double that of a person with normal hearing. People with worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. Isolation from friends and family is often the result. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment may be a problem for them. They might be in denial. In order to identify when will be the right time to have this conversation, some detective work may be needed.
Since you are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to use external cues, such as:
- Avoiding busy places
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from conversations
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be hard to have this talk. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so important. The steps will be the basically same although you might need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
People connect with others by using emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this individual. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Isn’t love all about growing closer?