Want to show how much you care? 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 individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Sadly, only around 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Important 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 region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Depression cases among those with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with healthy hearing. People who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. The person might 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 depression.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are developing hearing loss. They might be afraid or ashamed. They could be in denial. In order to decide when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.
Since you are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, including:
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Avoiding conversations
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- New levels of anxiousness in social settings
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be difficult to have this talk. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss properly. You might need to adjust your language based on your individual 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: You are concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an elevated risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of strong communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These could occur anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your responses. Maybe you practice them ahead of time. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is not willing to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?