Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is enduring hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Sadly, only around 30% of these people actually wear their hearing aids.
This inaction results in difficulty hearing, in addition to increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many people experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But spring is right around the corner. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s reduced activity in the part 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.
People with hearing loss have almost twice as many cases of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. Isolation from family and friends is often the result. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are suffering from hearing loss. Fear or shame could be an issue for them. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do a little detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on external cues, including:
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- Agitation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
- Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
- Misunderstanding situations more frequently
- Avoiding conversations
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
- Steering clear of settings with lots of people and activity
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you detect any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
It may be hard to have this conversation. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so significant. You may need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by overly loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, research has shown that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If someone has broken into your home, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People engage with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing test. Do it immediately after deciding. Don’t wait.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they could have these objections. This is someone you know well. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to 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.
Be prepared with your answers. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t have to follow 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 help 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?