Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
According to research, millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have nearly two times as many instances of depression than people who have normal hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. The person might start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall 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 might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They may be afraid or embarrassed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You may need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to rely on some of the following clues:
- Steering clear of settings with lots of people and activity
- Avoiding conversations
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Watching TV with the volume really high
Watch for for these common signs and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
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 essential to approach hearing loss appropriately. The steps will be the basically same even though you may need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is a key part of strong communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this individual. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can utilize homemade remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Prepare your counter replies. You may even rehearse them in the mirror. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to use 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 talk, 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?