Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
According to research, millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. Regrettably, only around 30% of these people actually use their hearing aids.
This inaction results in trouble hearing, in addition to higher dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is almost here. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can begin 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.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The person may start to isolate 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 strained relationships among 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 problems. Fear or embarrassment may be a problem for them. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. In order to determine when will be the best time to have this conversation, some detective work might be needed.
Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, like:
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Staying away from busy places
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
Watch for for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may 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. You might need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Make them understand that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
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 neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. If someone has broken into your house, or you yell for help, your loved one might not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These could occur anywhere in the process. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not see a problem? Do they think they can utilize homemade remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Be ready with your responses. You could even practice them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to use 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 by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?