If your Loved One Has Hearing Loss How Can You Discuss it With Them?

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

What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? Normally, people who have slow loss of hearing don’t recognize it so that makes it a hard subject to talk about. No one is helped by ignoring this frustrating issue. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.

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 risk of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. This hearing loss probably began years before it was noticed.

There are numerous reasons why presbycusis happens. Simply put, years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

All of these can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

Where you choose to have a discussion with your loved one is just as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is your best bet. It’s important not to be interrupted so decide on a private place. Bringing literature on the subject is also quite helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Hearing loss is a sensitive topic because it is associated with growing old. Growing older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Senior citizens struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

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. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what to do. Ask questions that can motivate 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 alone with their problem. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Come Armed With Solutions

The most important part of this discussion 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 plenty of tools available to help, such as 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. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Finally, suggest 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. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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