Most people don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people deal with. Both partners can feel frustrated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
This is the perfect time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
A person experiencing neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely chance of experiencing cognitive conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will ultimately impact the entire brain will be initiated when the part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression cases are nearly half in people who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. This can result in the person being self isolated from friends and family. As they sink deeper into depression, people who have hearing loss are likely to avoid taking part in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. Communication problems need to be handled with patients and compassion.
Someone who is developing hearing loss may not be ready to talk about it. They might be afraid or embarrassed. They could be in denial. You may need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to depend on external clues, such as:
- Avoiding busy places
- Watching television with the volume extremely high
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other important sounds
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding conversations
Plan on having a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one if you detect any of these symptoms.
How to talk about hearing loss
Having this talk might not be easy. A loved one may become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so relevant. You may need to alter 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: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve read through the studies. You’re aware that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
- Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own safety and health. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can trigger anxiety. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house. People connect with others through emotion. Simply 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 assessment. After you make the decision schedule an appointment right away. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: Be prepared for opposition. These could arise at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What sort of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t notice a problem? They might feel that homemade remedies will be good enough. (“Natural hearing loss cures” aren’t effective and can even be harmful.)
Have your responses prepared ahead of time. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner isn’t willing to discuss it. Establishing a plan to tackle potential communication problems and the impact hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. By doing this, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.
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