How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Loss of Hearing
What is the best thing to do when you realize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this difficult problem is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these tips.
Study More so You Can Discuss it Better
You should comprehend the issue first before you are able to clarify it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one person out of every three have some amount of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
The medical term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
There are lots of reasons why presbycusis occurs. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical signals that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.
The following chronic health problems can also play a role:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by each one of these.
Make a Date
Where you decide to have a discussion with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is your best bet. To make sure you won’t be disturbed, pick a quiet place. Bringing written material on the topic can be very helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.
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 topic. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.
You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.
They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Sit Back and Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
The greatest obstacle is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t recognize that they have family and friends on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to cope with the same issue.
The most important part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.
Finally, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.