Want to show how much you care? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That requires, of course, the ability to hear.
Research reveals one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 is suffering from hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. Sadly, only around 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.
Neglecting your hearing loss leads to problems hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Suffering in silence is how many individuals endure their hearing loss.
But spring is right around the corner. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.
It’s Important to Have “The Talk”
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s reduced activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
People with hearing loss have almost two times as many cases of depression than people who have normal hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become anxious and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is often the result. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop participating in activities once loved.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.
Solving The Puzzle
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know that they are suffering from hearing loss. They could be scared or ashamed. They might be in denial. You may need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.
Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might have to rely on some of the following indicators:
- Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
- Avoiding conversations
- Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
- New levels of anxiety in social settings
- Watching TV with the volume extremely high
- Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Recurring misunderstandings
- School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
Plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.
The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How
Having this conversation may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same although you may need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship.
Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.
Emotion is an essential part of robust 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 agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.
Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time in the process, they might have these objections. This is someone you know well. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not see a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.
Be ready with your answers. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.
Grow Your Relationship
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?