Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Sadly, only around 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost 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 Necessary
Studies have revealed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates among those with hearing loss are almost twice that of an individual with normal hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. Fear or shame could be an issue for them. They could be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, like:
- Avoiding conversations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
- Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Steering clear of settings with lots of people and activity
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
Look for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be hard to have this conversation. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. If someone has broken into your home, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People engage with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These could occur anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What obstacles will they find? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. Perhaps you practice 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 consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?