Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
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 overall brain can be initiated when there’s reduced activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases among those with hearing loss are almost twice that of someone with healthy hearing. Individuals with deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. The individual might begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships amongst 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 a problem for them. They might be in denial. In order to determine when will be the appropriate time to have this conversation, some detective work might be needed.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, including:
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Agitation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Avoiding conversations
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
Look for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion may not be easy. A companion in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss correctly. You might need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve read the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in a higher risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. If someone has broken into your house, or you call out for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People engage with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than just listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any point during the process, they may have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What obstacles will they find? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can utilize homemade remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.
Be prepared with your answers. Perhaps you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to be 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 loved one isn’t willing to consider it. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?