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 have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research shows one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to trouble hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many people experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have observed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost two times as many cases of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The person might start to seclude themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst 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 think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment might be a problem for them. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. In order to decide when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to rely on some of the following clues:
- Staying away from busy places
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from conversations
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this conversation may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. You may need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can cause an elevated risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Additionally, research has shown that elevated noise can create anxiety, which might 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.
People connect with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time in the process, they may have these objections. You know this person. What obstacles will they find? Money? 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 replies. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?