You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is right around the corner. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that eventually impacts the overall brain can be initiated when there’s decreased 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.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost two times as many instances of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. The individual might start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships among 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 might be an issue for them. Perhaps 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 are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, including:
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It may be difficult to have this conversation. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so important. You might need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Make them understand that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
People connect with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These could happen anywhere in the process. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. Perhaps you rehearse them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?