Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.
According to research, millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to difficulty hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many individuals coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.
But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have revealed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your overall brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost two times as many instances of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. Separation from friends and family is frequently the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can result in strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are developing hearing loss. Fear or embarrassment could be an issue for them. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.
Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to rely on external cues, such as:
- Recurring misunderstandings
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Staying away from conversations
Watch for for these common signs and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this discussion may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. You may need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.
Step 1: Make them aware that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that loud noise can create anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of robust communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. After deciding, make the appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might occur anywhere in the process. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you practice them beforehand. You should speak to your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to use this exact plan word-for-word.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Isn’t love all about growing together?