It’s something a lot of people suffer with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
This is the ideal time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A wonderful way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
A person with untreated hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely chance of experiencing cognitive conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will inevitably affect the whole brain will be initiated when the region of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases are almost half in individuals who have healthy hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Individuals frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. The person could begin to separate themselves from family and friends. As they fall deeper into depression, people who have hearing loss are likely to stop engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. It’s important to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication difficulties.
Somebody who is developing hearing loss might not be ready to talk about it. They might feel embarrassment and fear. They could be in denial. Deciding when to have the conversation could take a little detective work.
Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to depend on outward cues, like:
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Not hearing vital sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Avoiding busy places
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart chat with your loved one.
How to talk about hearing loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. The steps will be basically the same but perhaps with some minor alterations based on your particular relationship situation.
- Step 1: Inform them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
- Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read through the research. You’re aware that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a worry. Your hearing may be damaged by an excessively loud TV. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can trigger anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you have a fall 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: Schedule an appointment to get a hearing test together. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: There may be some objections so be prepared. These could occur anywhere in the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Doesn’t see a problem? Do they think they can utilize homemade methods? (You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.)
Be prepared with your answers. You might even practice them in the mirror. These answers need to address your loved one’s concerns but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word
Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to talk about it. Openly discussing the impact of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to address any communication challenges and make sure that both partners are heard and understood. By doing this, your relationship will get stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?