Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? Normally, people who suffer from slow hearing loss don’t recognize it so that makes it a hard subject to approach. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. To help get you there, consider these tips.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
First off, you need to recognize what is happening yourself so you can describe it. When you get older your chance of suffering from hearing loss raises. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.
This form of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Chances are this person started losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.
There are numerous reasons why presbycusis occurs. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical signals that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
All of these can damage the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
The place where you decide to have a talk with your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best option is to set something up so the two of you can get together and have a talk. You don’t want to be interrupted so go with a private location. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should also bring that. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.
Talk About the Whys
Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate matter. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.
Mention that you need to constantly repeat yourself during conversations, too. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Be Prepared to Listen
Once you have said what you need to, be ready to sit back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that will encourage this person to continue talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that may 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 found ways to live with hearing loss.
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 plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices that are now available.
Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.