Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly 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 degree of hearing loss. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
This inaction leads to difficulty hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. Separation from friends and family is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They might be scared or ashamed. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do a little detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to depend on some of the following indicators:
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Avoiding busy places
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Agitation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion might not be easy. A companion in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss properly. The steps will be the basically same even though you may need to adjust your language based on your unique relationship.
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 worried. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be harmed by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
People connect with others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might occur anytime during the process. This is somebody you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be prepared with your answers. Maybe you rehearse them ahead of time. You should speak to your loved one’s concerns but you don’t have to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a tough situation. 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 together?