A person you love has hearing loss, now what? It’s not an easy subject to talk about because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Your loved one’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these strategies.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
You need to recognize the issue first if you want to be able to clarify it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one person out of every three 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.
This type of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss probably began years before it was noticed.
Persbyscusis happens for numerous reasons. The most basic explanation for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical signals 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
- High blood pressure
Each one can harm the ear and impair the hearing.
Set a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is your best bet. To ensure you won’t be interrupted, find a quiet place. If you have any literature on the topic, you should bring that also. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive subject. Growing older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.
Be ready to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest obstacle. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t recognize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
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 a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Lastly, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear exam and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.