Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.

Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. Regrettably, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Important

Studies have revealed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can initiate a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.

Depression cases among those with hearing loss are almost double that of someone with normal hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. The individual may begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. 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 Mystery

Your loved one may not be ready to reveal that they are suffering from hearing loss. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. Maybe they’re going through denial. In order to identify when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work may be necessary.

Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to rely on some of the following clues:

  • Avoiding busy places
  • Turning the volume way up on the TV
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
  • New levels of anxiousness in social settings
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Misunderstanding situations more frequently
  • essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed

Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

It may be difficult to have this conversation. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so important. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship.

Step 1: Make them understand that you value 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 chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.

Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If somebody has broken into your house, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.

Emotion is an essential part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.

Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time in the process, they may have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.

Be prepared with your answers. You may 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 concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to consider it. But by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Isn’t love all about growing closer?

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References

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#:~:text=About%2028.8%20million%20U.S.%20adults%20could%20benefit%20from%20using%20hearing%20aids.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403920/
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/2014/nidcd-researchers-find-strong-link-between-hearing-loss-and-depression-adults

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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