You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? 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 out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Sadly, only around 30% of these people 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. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
People with hearing loss have almost two times as many instances of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. 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 Mystery
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. Fear or shame could be a problem for them. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. In order to determine when will be the right time to have this conversation, some detective work might be needed.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may have to depend on some of the following clues:
- Agitation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Recurring misunderstandings
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Avoiding conversations
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these common symptoms.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It may be hard to have this talk. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. You may need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
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, research has shown that loud noise can lead to anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If someone has broken into your house, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
People engage with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. Do it immediately after making the decision. 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 somebody you know well. What problems will they find? Money? Time? Do they not see a problem? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your responses. You may even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other 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. Isn’t love all about growing together?