You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have observed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression rates among individuals with hearing loss are almost double that of somebody with healthy hearing. Individuals who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. Separation from friends and family is frequently the result. They’re prone to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to tell you that they are experiencing hearing loss. They may be scared or ashamed. They may be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to use external cues, including:
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Staying away from busy places
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Irritation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously seen
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be difficult to have this conversation. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so significant. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Additionally, research has shown that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment immediately. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter responses. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Isn’t love all about growing closer?