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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be bettered. Consider these guidelines to help get you there.

Do the Research

First of all, you need to recognize what is happening yourself so you can explain it. The chances of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

The technical name for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The most basic explanation for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the little hair cells. Electrical messages are generated that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by each one of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. The best choice is to set something up so you both can get together and have a talk. Find a place that is quiet and ensures you won’t be interrupted. Bringing literature on the topic is also quite helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is related to getting old. Getting older is a hard thing to accept. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which encourage them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

The most difficult challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their problem and don’t understand they have family and friends on the other side. Remind them of how other family members have discovered ways to deal with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

The most crucial part of this discussion is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including 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. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Finally, suggest that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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