The majority of individuals don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people cope with. Hearing loss can cause communication barriers that lead to misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner isn’t it the perfect time to show your love and appreciation for your loved one? A wonderful way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
A person with neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely chance of developing cognitive conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will eventually impact the whole brain will be caused when the region of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less active. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression cases are nearly half in individuals who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become stressed and agitated. This can lead to the person being self isolated from friends and family. They are also likely to avoid getting involved in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. It’s essential to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication challenges.
Your loved one might not be ready to inform you they are experiencing hearing loss. They might feel embarrassment and fear. Denial may have set in. Deciding when to have the conversation may take a little detective work.
Because you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on outward clues, such as:
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Not hearing important sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Avoiding conversations
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Avoiding busy places
Watch for these prevalent symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?
Having this discussion may not be easy. A loved one may become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
- Step 1: Tell them how much you love them without condition and how much you appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is important to you. You’ve read through the studies. You’re aware that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. An overly loud television could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have revealed that excessively loud noise can trigger anxiety. If you have a burglar in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner might not hear you calling for help. Emotion is a powerful way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it will have more impact than merely listing facts.
- Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing test. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be ready for objections. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Perhaps they don’t see that it’s an issue. They may feel that homemade remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss remedies” aren’t effective and can even be harmful.)
Be prepared with your responses. You may even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should concentrate on your loved one’s worries.
If your partner isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Openly talking about the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to address any communication issues and make sure that both partners are heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will get stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.