You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is enduring hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.
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 speaking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have revealed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. Separation from family and friends is often the result. They’re likely to sink deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to tell you that they are experiencing hearing loss. Fear or embarrassment may be an issue for them. They could be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on external cues, such as:
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Staying away from conversations
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
Look for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be hard to have this conversation. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss correctly. 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: Make them understand that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing assessment. 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 during the process, they could have these objections. You know this individual. What problems will they find? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Be prepared with your responses. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to adhere to 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 you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Isn’t love all about growing closer?