Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

If you realize someone you love has hearing loss what should you do. Hearing loss often goes unnoticed by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.

Do the Research

You need to comprehend the problem first if you want to be able to explain it. The chances of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

This type of ear damage is called presbycusis. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person began losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis happens. To put it simply, years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are generated by these tiny hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

The following chronic health problems can also play a role:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be hurt by all of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a talk is the best bet. It’s important not to be disturbed so choose a private place. Bringing literature on the subject can be quite helpful. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive topic. It’s tough to acknowledge that you are getting older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

Be ready to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Mention that you need to constantly repeat yourself during conversations, too. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

After you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that may be tough to get past. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to deal with the same problem.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Get an ear examination to rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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