You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.
Studies reveal millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to problems hearing, as well as higher dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have observed 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 responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates amongst those with hearing loss are nearly twice that of someone with normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. Isolation from family and friends is often the consequence. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this isolation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to reveal that they are experiencing hearing loss. They may be nervous or ashamed. They might be in denial. You might need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to use external cues, like:
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be difficult to have this talk. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. You might need to adjust 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 gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased 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. Your hearing can be damaged by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than just listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These might happen anywhere in the process. You know this individual. What will they object to? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your answers. Perhaps you rehearse them beforehand. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t have to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?