Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? It’s not an easy thing to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. No one is benefited by ignoring this frustrating problem. Your family member’s life will be improved by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these tips.
Learn More so You Can Discuss it Better
You need to understand the problem first if you want to be able to clarify it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
This kind of ear damage is called presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. To put it simply, decades of hearing sound eventually breaks down the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical signals that go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by each one of these.
Make a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. Pick a venue that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. If you have any written material on the subject, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person will be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate subject because it is associated with growing old. Growing older is a difficult thing to accept. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.
Be ready to offer specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
After you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what they should do. In order to help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that may be tough to get past. Many people don’t understand that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.
Come Armed With Solutions
What to do next will be the most important 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 in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Finally, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss goes away. Have an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.