You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? 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 using hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the entire brain can be triggered when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Depression cases amongst those with hearing loss are almost double that of a person with healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to reveal that they are developing hearing loss. They could be afraid or ashamed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You may need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to rely on some of the following indicators:
- Staying away from busy places
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Avoiding conversations
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be hard to have this talk. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so important. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an elevated chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
People engage with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These could happen anywhere in the process. This is someone you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not see a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you practice 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
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss 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 fulfilling life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?