If your Loved One Has Hearing Loss How Can You Talk To Them?

Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? Normally, people who have gradual hearing loss don’t realize it so that makes it a difficult subject to talk about. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be improved. To help get you there, think about these strategies.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

You should comprehend the problem first if you want to be able to clarify it. The risks of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.

The technical name for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person started losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are created that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be hurt by each one of these.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s also important where you have the discussion. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is your best bet. To guarantee you won’t be interrupted, find a quiet place. Bringing written material on the subject can be very helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.

Talk About the Whys

The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive topic because it is related to growing old. Getting older is a tough thing to acknowledge. Older people struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. In order to help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

The greatest obstacle is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel alone with their problem and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Finally, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.