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Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.

Research shows one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss just suffer in silence.

But spring is almost here. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Necessary

Studies have found that an individual with untreated 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 engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.

Depression cases amongst individuals with hearing loss are almost double that of somebody with healthy hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. The individual might begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop participating 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 Puzzle

Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are experiencing hearing loss. They could be nervous or embarrassed. They could be in denial. In order to identify when will be the best time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.

Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to rely on some of the following clues:

  • Staying away from conversations
  • Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
  • Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
  • New levels of anxiety in social settings
  • Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
  • Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
  • Misunderstanding situations more frequently
  • Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high

Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you observe any of these common signs.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

It may be difficult to have this conversation. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss properly. 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 understand that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.

Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that come with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can create anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house.

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 get a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might occur anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they considering trying 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 practice them beforehand. 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 loved one isn’t willing to discuss it. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?

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References

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#:~:text=About%2028.8%20million%20U.S.%20adults%20could%20benefit%20from%20using%20hearing%20aids.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403920/
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/2014/nidcd-researchers-find-strong-link-between-hearing-loss-and-depression-adults

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.