Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research demonstrates one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Regrettably, only about 30% of these people actually wear their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss results in difficulty hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have found that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases among people with hearing loss are almost double that of someone with normal hearing. Individuals who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. The person may start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop participating in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to reveal that they are developing hearing loss. They might be scared or embarrassed. They may be in denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to depend on some of the following indicators:
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Irritation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously seen
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from busy places
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same even though you may have to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can cause an increased risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some studies. If someone has broken into your house, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing exam. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they may have these objections. This is someone you know well. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter responses. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is unwilling to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But by having this conversation, 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 together?