Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.

According to research, millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. Sadly, only around 30% of these people actually wear their hearing aids.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss just suffer in silence.

But it’s nearly springtime. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing together. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.

It’s Important to Have “The Talk”

Studies have revealed that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s decreased activity in the part of your brain used 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 instances of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. The person may start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.

Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this separation.

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. In order to identify when will be the right time to have this conversation, some detective work may be needed.

Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may have to depend on some of the following clues:

  • Staying away from conversations
  • New levels of anxiousness in social situations
  • Experiencing a ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult
  • Recurring misunderstandings
  • Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
  • Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed

Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this discussion might not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so important. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to adjust your language based on your unique relationship.

Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to an elevated chance of dementia and depression. That’s not what you want for your loved one.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, studies show that loud noise can cause anxiety, which might impact your relationship. 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. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment right away. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any time during the process, they might have these objections. This is somebody you know well. What obstacles will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not acknowledge a problem? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter responses. Perhaps you rehearse them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s doubts.

Grow Your Relationship

If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a tough situation. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?

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References

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#:~:text=About%2028.8%20million%20U.S.%20adults%20could%20benefit%20from%20using%20hearing%20aids.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403920/
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/news/2014/nidcd-researchers-find-strong-link-between-hearing-loss-and-depression-adults

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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC