Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? Hearing loss frequently goes overlooked by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to bring up. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be bettered. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
First of all, you should recognize what is taking place yourself so you are able to explain it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one in every three people suffer from some amount of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
This kind of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone detected it, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.
There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little hair cells. Electrical signals are generated that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.
The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
All of these can harm the ear and impair the hearing.
Set a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Pick a venue that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bring along any literature you can on the topic too. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a delicate matter. 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 have to be specific.
Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Be Prepared to Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be tough to get past. Many people feel on their own with their problem and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
The most important part of this talk is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. 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 possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.
Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.