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

What is the best thing to do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? Usually, people who have slow hearing loss don’t realize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. No one is helped by neglecting this frustrating issue. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.

Do the Research

First of all, you should understand what is taking place yourself so you can describe it. When you get older your risk of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.

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

There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the tiny hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical signals that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The following chronic health problems can also play a role:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Hearing is reduced and the ear can be hurt by each one of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. Choose a place that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. Bringing literature on the topic is also quite helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a delicate matter. Getting older is a difficult thing to accept. Older people struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

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. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

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

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next will be the most important part of the discussion. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are plenty of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Going to the doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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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