Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people endure their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected 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 affect your overall brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many instances of depression than people who have normal hearing. Individuals with worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. Isolation from family and friends is often the consequence. They’re likely to sink deeper into depression as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. Maybe they’re dealing with 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 spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to use external cues, such as:
- Staying away from busy places
- Recurring misunderstandings
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
Watch for for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this conversation may not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. The steps will be the basically same although you may have to adjust your language based on your unique relationship.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to a higher risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An overly loud television could damage your hearing. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.
People engage with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more effective than just listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for objections. At any time during the process, they could have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Do they not see 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.
Prepare your counter replies. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing together?