Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Regrettably, only around 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
This inaction results in problems hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression rates amongst people with hearing loss are almost twice that of somebody with healthy hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. The individual may start to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships among 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 suffering from hearing loss. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. Maybe they’re going through denial. You may need to do a little detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, like:
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Staying away from busy places
- Staying away from conversations
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
Look for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It may be difficult to have this talk. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same even though you may have to modify your language based on your individual relationship.
Step 1: Make them understand that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. 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 may not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of robust communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. 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. At any time in the process, they might have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter responses. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have 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 by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?