The majority of people don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people cope with. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are created by hearing loss.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Discussing hearing loss together is an ideal way to do this.
Having “the talk”
Studies have found that a person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will eventually affect the entire brain will be caused when the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression rates among people who have hearing loss are nearly double that of a person who has healthy hearing. Studies have shown that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they frequently become stressed and agitated. This can result in the person being self isolated from family and friends. As they sink deeper into depression, people who have hearing loss are likely to avoid participating in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship stress among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. Communication issues need to be handled with patients and compassion.
Your loved one might not be ready to inform you they are developing hearing loss. They may feel shame and fear. Denial might have set in. You might need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the conversation.
Here are some outward cues you will have to depend on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:
- Avoiding busy places
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other significant sounds
- Avoiding conversations
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
Watch for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?
Having this talk might not be easy. A loved one might become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be more or less the same.
- Step 1: Inform them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
- Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. Your hearing could be harmed by an excessively loud TV. Additionally, research shows that elevated noise can trigger anxiety, which might affect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. Merely listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. After you make the decision make an appointment right away. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: There may be some opposition so be ready. These could happen at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What sort of objections will they have? Money? Time? Doesn’t notice a problem? Do they think they can utilize do-it-yourself methods? (You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.)
Have your answers prepared ahead of time. You may even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should concentrate on your loved one’s worries.
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. Openly talking about the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to solidify a plan to address any communication challenges and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. By having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?
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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.