You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is enduring hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.
This inaction leads to trouble hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
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 eventually impacts the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the part of your brain used for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.
Depression rates among people with hearing loss are almost double that of a person with healthy hearing. Individuals with deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. Isolation from family and friends is frequently the result. They’re prone to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
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 reveal that they are developing hearing loss. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. They may be in denial. You might need to do some 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 use outward cues, including:
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Irritation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
Watch for for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this conversation might not be easy. You may 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 correctly. The steps will be the basically same although you may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Make them understand that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
People connect with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing exam. After deciding, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point during the process, they might have these objections. You know this person. What will they object to? Money? Time? Do they not see a problem? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a tough situation. 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. Isn’t love all about growing closer?