Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
According to research, 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 about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people endure their hearing loss.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression cases amongst those with hearing loss are nearly double that of someone with normal hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The individual might begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this isolation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They could be scared or embarrassed. They might be in denial. In order to decide when will be the best 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 might have to rely on some of the following indicators:
- Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Staying away from busy places
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Watching TV with the volume really high
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be hard to have this talk. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so important. You might need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An excessively loud television could harm your hearing. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which may impact your relationship. If somebody has broken into your house, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
Emotion is an essential part of strong communication. Merely 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 get a hearing exam. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These could happen anytime during the process. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can use home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Isn’t love all about growing together?