You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. Regrettably, only around 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the overall brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases among those with hearing loss are nearly double that of somebody with normal hearing. People who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. The individual might start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They might be scared or embarrassed. They might be in denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide 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 have to depend on some of the following clues:
- Misunderstanding situations more often
- Staying away from conversations
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- Agitation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously seen
- Staying away from busy places
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common signs.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be difficult to have this talk. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same although you may 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 are concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Additionally, 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 may not hear you.
People engage with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment immediately. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they might have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your responses. Maybe you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?