Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research shows one in three adults between the ages of 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.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing, in addition to increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than people who have healthy hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. Separation from family and friends is often the result. They’re likely to sink deeper into depression as they stop participating 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 suffering from hearing loss. Fear or shame may be an issue for them. Maybe they’re going through denial. You might need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, such as:
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from conversations
- Staying away from busy places
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this conversation might not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. 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 done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, research has shown that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might effect 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 engage with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. At any time during the process, they could have these objections. You know this person. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can use home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to discuss it. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. Isn’t love all about growing closer?