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.
According to research, millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.
But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
Having “The Talk” is Important
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. Separation from friends and family is often the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop participating in activities once loved.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this isolation.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or shame may be a problem for them. Perhaps they’re going through denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to depend on some of the following clues:
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Watching TV with the volume really high
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
- Avoiding conversations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
Having this discussion may not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss correctly. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which might impact 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 effective communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time in the process, they might have these objections. You know this person. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not see a problem? Do they think they can use home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Perhaps you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is unwilling to talk, it can be a tough situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?