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 let them know? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. But you need to be able to hear in order to really listen.

According to research, millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. Sadly, only around 30% of these individuals actually use their hearing aids.

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

But it’s almost springtime. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking candidly about hearing loss can be a great way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Important

Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less engaged, it can start a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.

Individuals with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. People with worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. The individual may begin to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to stop including themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they fall deeper into a state of depression.

This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.

Solving The Mystery

Your loved one might not be ready to reveal that they are suffering from hearing loss. Fear or embarrassment could be an issue for them. Perhaps they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.

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

  • Agitation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
  • Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
  • Staying away from conversations
  • Misunderstanding situations more frequently
  • Cranking the volume way up on the TV
  • Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming more difficult

Look for these common signs and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this discussion may not be easy. You may get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why it’s essential to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same although you may have to adjust your language based on your unique relationship.

Step 1: Make them aware that you value your relationship and have unconditional love for them.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can lead to a higher risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud noises can cause, according to some research. 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 effective communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.

Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing test. After making the decision, make the appointment immediately. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What obstacles will they find? Money? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? You recognize “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could do more harm than good.

Be ready with your responses. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to be 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 by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. 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.