You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
This inaction leads to trouble hearing, in addition to increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have observed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression rates amongst individuals with hearing loss are almost twice that of someone with healthy hearing. Individuals who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The person may begin to seclude themselves from friends and family. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain amongst 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 think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They may be afraid or ashamed. They could be in denial. In order to decide when will be the appropriate 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 may need to rely on some of the following clues:
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Avoiding conversations
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
Plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be difficult to have this talk. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to adjust your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve read the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an elevated chance of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which might impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
People connect with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment immediately. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they may have these objections. You know this person. What will they object to? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Be ready with your answers. You may even practice them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is unwilling to talk, it can be a tough situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Isn’t love all about growing together?