Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

A person you love has hearing loss, now what? It’s not an easy subject to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. No one is helped by neglecting this frustrating issue. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these strategies.

Do the Research

Outlining the problem is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. As people get older, the risk of loss of hearing increase for them. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

The technical name for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons why presbycusis happens. Basically, many years of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are generated which go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be hurt by all of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. You don’t want to be disturbed so choose a private location. Bringing literature on the topic can be very helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive subject. Getting older is a hard thing to acknowledge. The elderly fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

After you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but didn’t know what to do. In order to help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that can be hard to get past. Many people don’t understand that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the conversation. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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