Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
Research reveals one in three adults between 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss results in difficulty hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the part of your brain responsible for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Depression cases amongst those with hearing loss are almost double that of someone with healthy hearing. Individuals who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. The individual might start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.
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 might not be ready to reveal that they are developing hearing loss. They might be nervous or ashamed. They might be in denial. In order to determine when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work might be needed.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may need to depend on some of the following clues:
- Avoiding conversations
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
- New levels of anxiousness in social settings
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
- Avoiding busy places
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
Look for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It might be difficult to have this discussion. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss properly. The steps will be the basically same although you may need to adjust your language based on your individual 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 concerned. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some studies. If somebody has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one may not hear you.
People connect with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than just 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 procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your answers. Perhaps you practice them ahead of time. You should address your loved one’s doubts but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?