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Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Hearing loss frequently goes unnoticed by those who have it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. No one is benefited by ignoring this frustrating problem. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be improved. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.

Do the Research

Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. When you get older your risk of being affected by hearing loss increases. About one in every three people suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the scientific name for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. This hearing loss probably began years before it was detected.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis happens. Basically, many years of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are created by these tiny hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the talk. Setting something up so you can have a talk is your best bet. You don’t want to be disturbed so go with a quiet location. Bring along whatever written material you can on the subject too. For example, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a delicate matter. Growing older is a hard thing to acknowledge. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Discuss that you need to keep repeating yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Sit Back and Listen

Once you have said what needs to be said, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that could be tough to get past. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to deal with the same issue.

Bring Solutions

What to do next will be the most crucial part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices that are now available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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.