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Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something a lot of individuals cope with, but most don’t want to talk about – hearing loss and its effect on personal relationships. Hearing loss can create communication barriers that result in misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Discussing hearing loss together is a great way to do this.

Having “the talk”

Studies have found that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your whole brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.

Depression rates are nearly half in individuals who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. People frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can lead to the person being self isolated from friends and family. As they fall deeper into sadness, people who have hearing loss are likely to avoid engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.

This, as a result, can lead to relationship strain among mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. It’s essential to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication difficulties.

Mystery solved

Your loved one might not be ready to let you know they’re experiencing hearing loss. They might be afraid or embarrassed. They may be in denial. Deciding when to have the conversation could take a little detective work.

Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll need to depend on outward clues, like:

  • Avoiding conversations
  • Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
  • Watching television with the volume really high
  • Not hearing significant sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
  • Avoiding busy places

Look for these prevalent symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

How to talk about hearing loss

Having this discussion might not be easy. A loved one could become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be more or less the same.

  • Step 1: Inform them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you appreciate your relationship.
  • Step 2: The state of their health is important to you. You’ve read through the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in a higher chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
  • Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. Your hearing could be damaged by an overly loud TV. In addition, research shows that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might affect your relationship. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve taken a fall, your partner might not hear you yelling for help. Emotion is a powerful way to connect with others. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture.
  • Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t delay.
  • Step 5: There may be some objections so be prepared. These could arise anywhere in the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Possibly they don’t detect that it’s a problem. They may feel that homemade remedies will be good enough. (“Natural hearing loss cures” are not effective and can even be harmful.)

Have your answers prepared beforehand. Even a bit of practice can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word

Relationship growth

If your spouse isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Establishing a plan to deal with potential communication challenges and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. By having this conversation, 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?

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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