Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Regrettably, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
This inaction results in difficulty hearing, along with higher dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Studies have observed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, 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” principle in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost two times as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they frequently become stressed and agitated. Isolation from family and friends is often the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are experiencing hearing loss. They could be afraid or embarrassed. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to rely on some of the following clues:
- Staying away from conversations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously seen
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Staying away from busy places
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you detect any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion might not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so important. The steps will be the basically same even though you might have to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in a higher risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of effective communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they might have these objections. This is someone you know well. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.
Be ready with your responses. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other 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. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?