It’s something a lot of individuals suffer with, but most don’t want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Hearing loss can cause communication obstacles that result in misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. Discussing hearing loss together is a great way to do this.
Having “the talk”
A person experiencing neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of developing cognitive conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will ultimately affect the whole brain will be caused when the region of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression numbers among individuals who have hearing loss are almost double that of an individual with healthy hearing. Studies have shown that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become anxious and agitated. This can result in the person being self secluded from friends and family. They are also likely to avoid involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. It’s important to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication challenges.
Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they are developing hearing loss. They may feel shame and fear. Denial might have set in. Deciding when to have the talk could take a little detective work.
Because you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on external clues, such as:
- Avoiding busy places
- Frequent misunderstandings
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Watching television with the volume very high
- Not hearing significant sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
Watch for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to discuss hearing loss
This discussion may not be an easy one to have. A loved one might become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why discussing hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so important. The steps will be basically the same but perhaps with some minor alterations based on your specific relationship situation.
- Step 1: Inform them how much you love them without condition and how much you appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in a higher chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. Your hearing could be harmed by an excessively loud TV. In addition, studies show that increased noise can cause anxiety, which may affect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. Merely listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. After you make the decision schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: There may be some objections so be prepared. You could find these oppositions at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What will their doubts be? Money? Time? Doesn’t notice an issue? Do they believe they can use homemade methods? (“Natural hearing loss remedies” aren’t effective and can even be harmful.)
Have your answers prepared beforehand. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have 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 significant other isn’t willing to talk about it. Openly talking about the impact of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to deal with any communication issues and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will get stronger and your partner will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?