You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research demonstrates one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is almost here. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression rates amongst those with hearing loss are nearly double that of someone with healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The person might begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to tell you that they are suffering from hearing loss. Fear or embarrassment could be a problem for them. They may be in denial. In order to decide when will be the appropriate time to have this conversation, some detective work might be necessary.
Since you are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, including:
- Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Avoiding busy places
- Staying away from conversations
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be hard to have this discussion. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. You might need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased chance of depression and dementia. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, research has shown that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you calling 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 impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These could happen anywhere in the process. This is somebody you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
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 concerns.
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 conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?