Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s reduced 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.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many cases of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not be ready to tell you that they are experiencing hearing loss. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. They could be in denial. In order to determine when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work might be needed.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to depend on some of the following clues:
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from conversations
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Irritation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Avoiding busy places
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you observe any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be hard to have this talk. A companion in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss properly. You may need to modify your language based on your unique 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: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an elevated risk of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. If somebody has broken into your home, or you yell for help, your loved one might not hear you.
People engage with others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they may have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not see a problem? Do they think they can use home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your responses. Maybe you rehearse them beforehand. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?