You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research demonstrates one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Neglecting your hearing loss results in difficulty hearing, in addition to higher dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your overall 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. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might start to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to sink deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment may be an issue for them. 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 are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, like:
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- New levels of anxiety in social situations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Avoiding conversations
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
- Staying away from busy places
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be hard to have this talk. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. 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 aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are concerned about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
People connect with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might occur anywhere in the process. This is somebody you know well. What will they object to? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. Maybe you practice them beforehand. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Isn’t love all about growing together?