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Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

What is the best thing to do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? Usually, people who suffer from slow loss of hearing don’t recognize it so that makes it a hard subject to approach. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.

Do the Research

You need to recognize the issue first before you are able to explain it. As people grow older, the chances of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three have some degree of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

The technical name for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears equally. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was detected.

Persbyscusis happens for numerous reasons. To put it simply, decades of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are produced by these tiny hair cells. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.

Set a Date

Where you choose to talk to your loved one is just as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is the best bet. It’s important not to be interrupted so choose a quiet venue. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive matter. Getting older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Older people struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Sit Back and Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can motivate this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that can be tough to get past. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their condition. Talk to them about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Lastly, suggest that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Have an ear exam to rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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