Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
This inaction results in difficulty hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases amongst those with hearing loss are almost twice that of a person with normal hearing. Individuals with worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience agitation and anxiety. The individual might start to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, in turn, can result in relationship strain amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not be ready to reveal that they are experiencing hearing loss. They might be afraid or embarrassed. Perhaps they’re going through denial. You may need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, including:
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Staying away from busy places
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Agitation or anxiousness in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Misunderstanding situations more often
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common symptoms.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It may be hard to have this talk. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss properly. The steps will be the basically same even though you may need 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: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased risk of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be harmed by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. If someone has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
People engage with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing test. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Costs? Time? Do they not see a problem? Are they thinking about trying out home remedies? You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.
Be ready with your responses. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?