If Someone You Love Has Hearing Loss How Can You Talk To Them?

Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be bettered. Consider these guidelines to help get you there.

Do the Research

Outlining the issue is much easier if you first comprehend it. When you get older your chance of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This type of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It usually occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

There are many reasons why presbycusis happens. To put it simply, years of listening to sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical messages that go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

All of these can harm the ear and impair the hearing.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. The best choice is to schedule something so you both can meet and have a talk. Find a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. Bring with you whatever literature you can on the topic too. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a delicate matter. Growing older is a hard thing to accept. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

The biggest obstacle is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to cope with the same issue.

Bring Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are plenty of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Finally, 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 problem by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

Questions? Talk To Us.