If your Loved One Has Hearing Loss How Can You Talk To Them?

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

What is the best thing to do when you recognize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be improved. Think about these strategies to help get you there.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

Firstly, you need to comprehend what is going on yourself so you are able to explain it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one in every three people suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the scientific term for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone detected it, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.

Persbyscusis happens for many reasons. Simply put, decades of listening to sound eventually breaks down the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are generated by these tiny hair cells. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by all of these.

Set a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the discussion. The best option is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and have a talk. Go with a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should bring that also. For example, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive matter. It’s hard to acknowledge that you are growing older. Older people struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Once you have said what you need to, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to continue talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

The greatest challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same issue.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next will be the most important part of the conversation. 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 many shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear exam to rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the problem. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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.