Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to problems hearing, in addition to increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is almost here. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a good 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 neglected hearing loss according to several studies. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
People with hearing loss have nearly two times as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. The individual might begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment might be an issue for them. Maybe they’re going through denial. In order to determine when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work may be needed.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, like:
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
Watch for for these common signs and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be hard to have this discussion. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. The steps will be the basically same even though you may have to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Make them aware 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 read the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An overly loud TV could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that loud noise can cause anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
People engage with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing exam. Do it immediately after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These could happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? 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 help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. You may even practice them in the mirror. You should speak to your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?