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

If you discover someone you love has hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to talk about because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is benefited by ignoring this frustrating problem. Your family member’s life will be bettered by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. Think about these strategies to help get you there.

Do the Research

You should comprehend the issue first before you are able to clarify it. The chances of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

The medical term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. It generally occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis happens. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little hair cells. Electrical signals are generated that go to the brain. The brain gets the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

All of these can damage the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. The best way to go is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and talk. Go with a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. Bringing literature on the topic can be very helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Hearing loss is a delicate subject because it is related to aging. Growing older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Older people struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Now it’s Time to Listen

After you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that will encourage this person to continue talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that might be difficult to get past. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t understand they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to deal with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the talk. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Going to the doctor is step one. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.