How Should You Approach a Loved One Concerning Their Hearing Loss?

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

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. Hearing loss often goes undetected by those who have it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Think about these tips to help get you there.

Do the Research

First off, you should understand what is taking place yourself so you are able to explain it. As people get older, the chances of hearing loss increase for them. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

This kind of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was noticed.

Persbyscusis occurs for several reasons. Simply put, decades of listening to sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are generated which go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by each one of these.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Go with a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive topic. Growing older is a difficult thing to accept. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.

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

Be Prepared to Listen

After you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can motivate this person to keep talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

The greatest challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t recognize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.

Come Armed With Solutions

The most significant part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. 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 now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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