Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. But you have to be able to hear in order to really listen.

Studies reveal millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some amount of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.

This inaction leads to difficulty hearing, along with increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many people experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But spring is almost here. It’s a time for new foliage, flowers, new beginnings, and growing together. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a good way to renew relationships.

It’s Important to Have “The Talk”

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have untreated hearing loss according to several studies. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your overall brain. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.

Depression rates among people with hearing loss are nearly twice that of somebody with healthy hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they frequently become stressed and agitated. The person might start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.

Strained relationships between friends and family members is often the result of this isolation.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one might not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. They may be afraid or ashamed. They may be in denial. In order to decide when will be the best time to have this discussion, some detective work might be necessary.

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

  • Cranking the volume way up on the TV
  • Staying away from conversations
  • Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else hears
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Important sounds, like somebody calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
  • New levels of anxiety in social situations
  • Avoiding busy places

Watch for for these common signs and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.

How to Talk About Hearing Loss

Having this discussion may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a spouse 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 the same for the most part.

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

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve read the studies. You know that neglected hearing loss can result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.

Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Additionally, studies show that loud noise can lead to anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you calling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.

People connect with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.

Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be prepared for objections. At any time in the process, they could have these objections. You know this person. What issues will they find? Money? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t benefit hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Be prepared with your responses. Maybe you practice them ahead of time. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

If your loved one is reluctant to talk, it can be a tough situation. But you’ll get your loved one the help they require to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this discussion. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?

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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.