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 let them know? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.

Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from using hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.

This inaction leads to difficulty hearing, in addition to increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Suffering in silence is how many people endure their hearing loss.

But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Important

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the part of your brain used for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.

People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. People with worsening hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. The person may start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.

This, in turn, can result in strained relationships amongst 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 think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They could be afraid or embarrassed. They could be in denial. In order to identify when will be the best time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.

Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, such as:

  • Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • Steering clear of places with lots of people and activity
  • Agitation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously noticed
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Not hearing important sounds, like the doorbell, washer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
  • Frequent misunderstandings

Watch for for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

It may be hard to have this conversation. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so important. You may need to adjust your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.

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

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can cause a higher chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, research has shown that elevated noise can create anxiety, which might impact 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 strong communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more impactful than simply listing facts.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. After making the decision, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These could occur anytime during the process. This is somebody you know well. What problems will they find? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they considering trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter responses. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. You should address your loved one’s concerns but you don’t have to use this exact plan word-for-word.

Grow Your Relationship

If your significant other is not willing to talk, it can be a tricky 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 fulfilling life. Growing together – 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.

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