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 need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research shows one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Regrettably, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing, in addition to 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 emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
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 used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
People with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. Individuals with deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. The person may start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely 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 relationship strain 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 feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They may be nervous or ashamed. They might be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, including:
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Avoiding busy places
- Staying away from conversations
Plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice 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 reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so important. You may need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
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 gone over the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an elevated risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Additionally, studies show that loud noise can cause anxiety, which might impact your relationship. 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 strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time in the process, they could have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a tough situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Isn’t love all about growing together?