Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research shows one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. When the region of your brain responsible 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.
People with hearing loss have nearly two times as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. The individual might start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They may be afraid or embarrassed. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, such as:
- Staying away from conversations
- Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Agitation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
Look for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be hard to have this talk. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss appropriately. You might need to adjust 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 appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can lead to a higher chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could harm your hearing. In addition, research has shown that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may effect your relationship. If somebody has broken into your house, or you yell for help, your loved one might not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. After making the decision, make the appointment immediately. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point during the process, they may have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter responses. Maybe you practice 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
If your loved one is unwilling 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 closer – isn’t that what love is all about?