Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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

If you realize someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. Hearing loss frequently goes unnoticed by those who have it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to talk about it. Think about these strategies to help get you there.

Do the Research

Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first understand it. The risks of hearing loss increase as people grow older. About one in every three people have some amount of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical term for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears similarly. This hearing loss most likely started years before it was detected.

Persbyscusis occurs for numerous reasons. Basically, years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are generated that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

The following chronic health problems can also play a role:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

All of these can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Set a Date

What you say to your loved one is important however it’s also important where you have the conversation. The best way to go is to schedule something so the two of you can get together and talk. Pick a place that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. Bring along any literature you can on the subject too. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Hearing loss is a sensitive topic because it is related to aging. Getting older is a tough thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other worries but doesn’t know what to do. In order to help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

The biggest obstacle is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t realize that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their problem. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Going to the doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination and rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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