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. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Research shows one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But spring is almost here. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Studies have observed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that eventually impacts the entire brain can be initiated when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.
Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. The person may 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 among 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 tell you that they are suffering from hearing loss. They could be nervous or embarrassed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to depend on some of the following indicators:
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- New levels of anxiousness in social situations
- Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
- Frequent misunderstandings
- essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Avoiding conversations
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you notice any of these common symptoms.
How to Talk About Hearing Loss
It may be difficult to have this conversation. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss appropriately. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve read the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can cause an elevated chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by overly high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some studies. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or someone’s broken into the house.
People engage with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than merely listing facts.
Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point during the process, they may have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they thinking about 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. You could even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a tough situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?