You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Sadly, only around 30% of these people actually wear their hearing aids.
This inaction leads to difficulty hearing, as well as higher dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many people endure their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an individual 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 active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have nearly two times as many cases of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. Separation from family and friends is frequently the consequence. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are developing hearing loss. They may be nervous or ashamed. They could be in denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to depend on some of the following indicators:
- Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding conversations
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Recurring misunderstandings
Look for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss appropriately. The steps will be the basically same even though you may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
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’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. 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 effective communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more effective than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they could have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not see a problem? Are they thinking about 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 rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer 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 assistance they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?