Most individuals don’t want to discuss the effect hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people deal with. Both partners can feel frustrated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
This is the perfect time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A great way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
A person experiencing neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of developing cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will eventually impact the whole brain will be caused when the part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression rates are nearly half in people who have healthy hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. People often become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can result in the person being self secluded from friends and family. They are also likely to avoid getting involved in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. It’s important to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication problems.
Somebody who is experiencing hearing loss may not be ready to discuss it. They may feel shame and fear. They may be in denial. Deciding when to have the talk could take a bit of detective work.
Here are a few external clues you will need to rely on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:
- Avoiding busy places
- Avoiding conversations
- Failing to hear alerts, doorbells, and other significant sounds
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Frequent misunderstandings
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
Look for these prevalent symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
How to discuss hearing loss
This talk may not be an easy one to have. A loved one might become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s crucial to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. The steps will be essentially the same but perhaps with some small alterations based on your specific relationship situation.
- Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read through the research. You’re aware that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a worry. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have revealed that excessively loud noise can cause anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’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: Decide together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing assessment. After you make the decision schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be ready for objections. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What will their doubts be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Possibly they don’t detect that it’s an issue. Do they believe they can utilize homemade methods? (You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.)
Have your responses prepared beforehand. Even a little rehearsal can’t hurt. These responses need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word
If your partner is unwilling to discuss their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Developing a plan to tackle potential communication problems and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. By doing this, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.