Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

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

According to research, millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, unfortunately.

Neglecting your hearing loss results in difficulty hearing, in addition to higher dementia rates, depression, and strained relationships. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But spring is almost here. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, new beginnings, and growing closer. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?

It’s Important to Have “The Talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. 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. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.

Individuals with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than individuals who have normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. Isolation from family and friends is frequently the result. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.

Strained relationships between friends and family members is frequently the result of this separation.

Solving The Mystery

Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They may be nervous or embarrassed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You may need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.

Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to depend on some of the following indicators:

  • Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
  • Staying away from conversations
  • Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
  • Agitation or anxiety in social situations that you haven’t previously seen
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high

Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this conversation may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so significant. 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: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve done the research. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an elevated chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.

Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Additionally, studies show that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.

People connect with others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this individual. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Be prepared with your responses. You might even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this talk. 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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