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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 show them? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.

Research reveals one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.

But it’s nearly springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging foliage, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.

It’s Important to Have “The Talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s reduced activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.

People with hearing loss have nearly two times as many instances of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become anxious and agitated. The person might begin to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re prone to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.

This, in turn, can result in relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.

Solving The Mystery

Your loved one may not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They may be afraid or ashamed. Perhaps they’re going through denial. In order to decide when will be the appropriate time to have this conversation, some detective work might be needed.

Since you are unable to hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to use outward cues, including:

  • Misunderstanding situations more frequently
  • Ringing, buzzing, and other noises that no one else hears
  • Sudden trouble with work, hobbies, or school
  • Steering clear of settings with lots of people and activity
  • New levels of anxiety in social settings
  • essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Turning the volume way up on the TV

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

How to Talk About Hearing Loss

Having this conversation might not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to approach hearing loss properly. You might need to adjust your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.

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

Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.

Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. If somebody has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one may not hear you.

People engage with others by using emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.

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

Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These could occur anytime during the process. You know this person. What problems will they find? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.

Prepare your counter replies. Maybe you practice them beforehand. You should speak to your loved one’s concerns but you don’t need to adhere to this exact plan word-for-word.

Grow Your Relationship

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Isn’t love all about growing together?

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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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