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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be improved. Think about these tips to help get you there.

Learn More so You Can Explain it Better

Explaining the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. As people grow older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. About one in every three people have some degree of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

This kind of ear damage is called presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone noticed, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.

Persbyscusis occurs for several reasons. Basically, decades of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical messages that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Each one can harm the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. The best option is to set something up so you both can meet and talk. Pick a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. If you have any written material on the subject, you should also bring that. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive topic because it is related to aging. Growing older is a tough thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their daily lives.

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 seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

The most difficult challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same issue.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next will be the most crucial part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. After that the doctor can schedule 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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC