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.
Studies reveal 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. Regrettably, only around 30% of these people actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can initiate a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. Individuals who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The person may start to seclude themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. Fear or shame could be an issue for them. They could be in denial. In order to decide when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work may be needed.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may need to rely on some of the following clues:
- New levels of anxiety in social situations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Staying away from busy places
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be difficult to have this conversation. A companion in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so significant. You might need to adjust 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 appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. Additionally, research has shown that loud noise can create anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
People engage with others by using emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These might occur anytime during the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they considering trying out home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Be ready with your responses. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. You should speak to your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Isn’t love all about growing together?