You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is enduring hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates amongst people with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is frequently the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in 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 might not be ready to tell you that they are developing hearing loss. They might be scared or ashamed. Maybe they’re going through denial. In order to decide when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work may be needed.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to rely on some of the following indicators:
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Avoiding conversations
- Avoiding busy places
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
Look for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion may not be easy. You might 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 individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany 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 excessively loud television could harm your hearing. Additionally, studies show that loud noise can lead to anxiety, which might effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of effective communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. At any point during the process, they may have these objections. You know this person. What obstacles will they find? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can use home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your answers. Maybe you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to 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 talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?