Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
According to research, millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher instances of dementia, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
Having “The Talk” is Necessary
Studies have revealed that an person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
People with hearing loss have nearly two times as many cases of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might begin to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They could be scared or ashamed. Perhaps they’re going through denial. In order to determine when will be the right time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on external cues, including:
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Staying away from conversations
- essential sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Cranking the volume way up on the TV
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Irritation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously seen
- Avoiding busy places
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common symptoms.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It might be difficult to have this talk. A companion in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so important. The steps will be the basically same even though you may need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An overly loud TV could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that loud noise can lead to anxiety, which may 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 what might happen, it’s more effective than just listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing test. Do it immediately after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any point in the process, they might have these objections. You know this individual. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can use home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Be ready with your answers. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your loved one is not willing to talk, it can be a tough 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. Isn’t love all about growing closer?