What is the best thing to do when you realize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? Hearing loss frequently goes undetected by those who suffer from it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. The things you do now will improve the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to discuss it. Consider these tips to help get you there.
Do the Research
Firstly, you should comprehend what is happening yourself so you can describe it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one person out of every three have some amount of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the technical name for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. Years before anyone detected it, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
There are numerous reasons presbycusis happens. To put it simply, years of hearing sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages 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. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
The following chronic health problems can also play a role:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by all of these.
Make a Date
Where you decide to have a discussion with your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best option is to schedule something so you both can meet and talk. Select a venue that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bring along whatever written material you can on the topic too. Presbycusis may be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive matter. It’s difficult to acknowledge that you are growing older. The elderly fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think 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.
Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself while having 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
Once you have said what you need to, be ready to sit back and listen. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but didn’t know what to do. In order to help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that can be difficult to get past. Many people feel isolated with their problem and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.
Come Armed With Solutions
The most significant part of this talk is going to be what to do next. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. 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 all shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Lastly, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.