Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to talk about it. Think about these guidelines to help get you there.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. When you get older your chance of being affected by hearing loss raises. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This kind of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears equally. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are generated by these little hair cells. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Each one can harm the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. The best way to go is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and have a talk. You don’t want to be interrupted so go with a private location. Bringing literature on the subject is also very helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate subject because it is related to growing old. It’s tough 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 how you know they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Once you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can motivate this person to keep talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that may be difficult to get past. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to deal with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the conversation. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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.