What is the best thing to do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy subject to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be bettered. Think about these guidelines to help get you there.
Study More so You Can Explain it Better
You need to recognize the issue first before you are able to explain it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one in every three people have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
This kind of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears equally. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was detected.
There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. Simply put, decades of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical messages that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.
Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Each one can damage the ear and reduce hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the talk. The best way to go is to set something up so the two of you can meet and have a talk. To ensure you won’t be interrupted, find a quiet spot. Bring with you whatever written material you can on the subject too. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive topic. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.
Be ready to offer specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Be Prepared to Listen
Be ready to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that can be tough to get past. Many people feel isolated with their problem and don’t understand they have family and friends on the other side. Talk to them about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
What to do next will be the most important 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, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.