Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one in three adults between 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have observed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. 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 people who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is often the result. They’re likely to sink deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are experiencing hearing loss. Fear or shame could be an issue for them. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. In order to identify when will be the appropriate time to have this conversation, some detective work may be needed.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on external cues, including:
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Avoiding conversations
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Staying away from busy places
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation 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 approach hearing loss properly. The steps will be the basically same although you might have to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might effect your relationship. If somebody has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People engage with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing test. Do it immediately after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point in the process, they might have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What will they object to? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Be prepared with your responses. You could even practice them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is unwilling to talk, it can be a tricky situation. 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. Isn’t love all about growing closer?