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? Listen to your loved ones, truly listen. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.

Studies reveal millions of individuals would benefit from using hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. Sadly, only about 30% of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids.

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

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

It’s Important to Have “The Talk”

Studies have found that an person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the overall brain can be initiated when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.

Depression rates amongst people with hearing loss are almost double that of somebody with healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. Separation from family and friends is often the result. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop engaging in activities once loved.

This, in turn, can lead to strained relationships amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one may not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They could be scared or embarrassed. They could be in denial. You may need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.

Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may need to rely on some of the following indicators:

  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Turning the volume way up on the TV
  • New levels of anxiousness in social settings
  • Recurring misunderstandings
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Important sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
  • Steering clear of settings with lots of activity and people
  • Avoiding conversations

Plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you detect any of these common symptoms.

How to Talk About Hearing Loss

Having this conversation may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a partner in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper manner is so significant. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.

Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.

Step 2: You’re concerned about their health. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased risk of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.

Emotion is a key part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.

Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to have a hearing test. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. You know this person. What issues will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter responses. Maybe you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s doubts.

Grow Your Relationship

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?

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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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