Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Sadly, only about 30% of these people actually use 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 just suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
People with hearing loss have nearly two times as many cases of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might 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.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are suffering from hearing loss. Fear or shame may be an issue for them. They may be in denial. In order to determine when will be the best time to have this discussion, 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:
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously seen
- Avoiding conversations
- Avoiding busy places
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
Watch for for these common signs and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be hard to have this talk. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
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 worried. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can lead to an elevated risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If somebody has broken into your house, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.
Emotion is a key part of strong communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might occur anywhere in the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? 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.
Be prepared with your answers. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is not willing to talk, it can be a tough situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?