Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research demonstrates one in three adults between 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that eventually affects the overall brain can be initiated when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression rates amongst those with hearing loss are nearly double that of a person with healthy hearing. People with worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The individual might start to seclude themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They might be afraid or embarrassed. Maybe they’re dealing with 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 use external cues, including:
- Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Staying away from busy places
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so significant. You may need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. 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 might not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of robust communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this individual. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you rehearse them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?