Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is enduring hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Important
Studies have observed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience 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 responsible for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than people who have normal hearing. Individuals who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. Separation from friends and family is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop including 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 might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment could be a problem for them. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do a little detective work to decide 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:
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- Staying away from busy places
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Agitation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Misunderstanding situations more often
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. You may need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An overly loud TV could damage your hearing. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may impact your relationship. If somebody has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
People connect with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing assessment. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this individual. What obstacles will they find? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you rehearse them beforehand. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to follow this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is unwilling to talk, it can be a tough situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?