Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that eventually impacts the overall brain can be initiated when there’s reduced activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have nearly two times as many instances of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. The individual may start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to sink deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They might be nervous or ashamed. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to use external cues, including:
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Staying away from conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
- Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously seen
- essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you observe any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can cause an elevated chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any point during the process, they could have these objections. You know this individual. What obstacles will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one 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 rewarding life. Isn’t love all about growing closer?