You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Depression cases among people with hearing loss are nearly double that of a person with normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to sink deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are suffering from hearing loss. They might be scared or embarrassed. 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 are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, such as:
- Staying away from conversations
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Agitation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be difficult to have this conversation. You may 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: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an elevated risk 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 damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that loud noise can lead to anxiety, which might effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point during the process, they could have these objections. You know this person. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?