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Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.

According to research, 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. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.

But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?

It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.

Depression rates amongst individuals with hearing loss are nearly twice that of a person with normal hearing. Individuals who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. Separation from friends and family is often the consequence. They’re likely to sink deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.

Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this separation.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one might not be ready to reveal that they are developing hearing loss. They could be nervous or embarrassed. They could be in denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.

Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to use outward cues, like:

  • Staying away from busy places
  • Misunderstanding situations more often
  • Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
  • Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
  • Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
  • Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
  • Staying away from conversations
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult

Look for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

How to Talk About Hearing Loss

Having this conversation might not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same even though you might 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: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.

Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, research has shown that loud noise can create anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.

Emotion is a key part of robust communication. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be ready for objections. At any point in the process, they could have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can use homemade remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to follow this exact plan word-for-word.

Grow Your Relationship

If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?

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References

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#:~:text=About%2028.8%20million%20U.S.%20adults%20could%20benefit%20from%20using%20hearing%20aids.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403920/
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/2014/nidcd-researchers-find-strong-link-between-hearing-loss-and-depression-adults

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.