Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with finding a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these strategies.
Study More so You Can Explain it Better
First off, you should understand what is taking place yourself so you can describe it. As people get older, the chances of loss of hearing increase for them. About one person out of every three have some degree of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.
The medical term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears equally. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.
Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. Basically, many years of hearing sound eventually breaks down 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.
Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.
Set 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 set something up so you both can meet and talk. Find a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor might have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person will be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate topic because it is related to aging. Growing older is a hard thing to accept. Older people fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be ready to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
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 understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be tough to get past. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t recognize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
What to do next will be the most significant part of the conversation. Make your loved one aware that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Going to the doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.