Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. 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”
Studies have revealed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the overall brain can be triggered when there’s reduced activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors call this 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 normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become anxious and agitated. Separation from family and friends is often the result. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They might be scared or embarrassed. They might be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to determine when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may need to depend on some of the following clues:
- Staying away from conversations
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Irritation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Staying away from busy places
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
Look for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be difficult to have this talk. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. You may need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing exam. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point in the process, they could have these objections. You know this individual. What will they object to? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter responses. You might even rehearse 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 doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is reluctant 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 discussion. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?