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 shows one in three adults between 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
This inaction leads to trouble hearing, along with higher dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many people experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases among people with hearing loss are almost double that of somebody with normal hearing. People who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The individual might start to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are suffering from hearing loss. They might be afraid or embarrassed. They might be in denial. In order to identify when will be the appropriate time to have this conversation, some detective work may be needed.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on external cues, such as:
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Staying away from busy places
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Agitation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding conversations
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 conversation. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so important. You might need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an elevated 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. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. Additionally, research has shown that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing exam. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These might occur anytime during the process. You know this individual. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you rehearse them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Isn’t love all about growing closer?