Want to show how much you care? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.
Studies reveal millions of individuals would benefit from using hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.
Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people 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 foliage, 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”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have untreated hearing loss according to many studies. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact 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 people with hearing loss are nearly double that of somebody with healthy hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. The person may begin to seclude themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.
Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this separation.
Solving The Mystery
Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They might be nervous or embarrassed. They might be in denial. You may need to do a little detective work to determine 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 clues:
- Staying away from conversations
- Turning the volume way up on the TV
- New levels of anxiousness in social settings
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
- Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else can hear
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- Misunderstanding situations more often
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you observe any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this conversation might not be easy. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss appropriately. The steps will be the basically same although you may need to adjust your language based on your distinct relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve read 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: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed 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 research. If someone has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.
Emotion is a key part of strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more effective than simply listing facts.
Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point in the process, they might have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can use home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your answers. Maybe you rehearse them ahead of time. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a difficult 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 satisfying life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?