Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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

Someone you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Hearing loss commonly goes undetected by those who suffer from it and that makes it much more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Your family member’s life will be bettered by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.

Learn More so You Can Explain it Better

You need to recognize the problem 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 have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical name for this form of ear damage. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears similarly. This hearing loss probably began years before it was detected.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these little hair cells. The brain gets the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

The following chronic health problems can also play a role:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

All of these can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. The best way to go is to schedule something so you both can get together and talk. To guarantee you won’t be disturbed, find a quiet spot. Bringing literature on the subject is also quite helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that describes presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate subject. Growing older is a tough thing to accept. Older people struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may believe 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 talk to them. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what you need to say. Your family member may express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but didn’t know what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that can be tough to get past. Many people don’t understand that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same problem.

Bring Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. 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 which are now available.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Some hearing loss is temporary. Get an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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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