You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Sadly, only around 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Studies have observed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Individuals who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The person might begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to tell you that they are developing hearing loss. They might be scared or ashamed. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. In order to identify when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work may be needed.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, like:
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from conversations
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from busy places
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be hard to have this conversation. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so important. You might need to modify your language based on your distinct 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: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud television could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of robust 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 schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they could have these objections. This is someone you know well. What issues will they find? Money? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you practice them beforehand. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?