A person you love has hearing loss, now what? Hearing loss often goes undetected by those who have it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. Ignoring this difficult issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your family member’s life will be improved by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Consider these strategies to help get you there.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
Discussing the issue is easier if you first understand it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one in every three people have some degree of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the technical name for this form of ear damage. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.
There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. To put it simply, decades of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these tiny hair cells. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important however it’s also important where you have the conversation. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is your best bet. To guarantee you won’t be interrupted, select a quiet spot. Bringing written material on the topic can be very helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.
Talk About the Whys
The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a delicate matter. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.
Be prepared to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself during conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what you need to say. Your family member may share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but didn’t know what they should do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest challenge. Many people feel on their own with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same problem.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
The most significant part of this discussion is going to be what should be done 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, including 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.
Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.