It’s Hard to Determine What to do About A Loved One With Hearing Loss

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

Someone you love has hearing loss, now what? Hearing loss commonly goes unnoticed by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. Ignoring this difficult problem is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will improve the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these guidelines.

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

You need to comprehend the problem first before you are able to explain it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. 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 suffer from it after the age of 75.

The technical term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person began losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Set a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s also important where you have the conversation. The best option is to schedule something so you both can meet and have a talk. Choose a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bring with you whatever literature you can on the topic too. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive topic. Getting older is a tough thing to acknowledge. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time 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 noticed some changes but didn’t know what they should do. To help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the greatest obstacle. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated 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

What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the conversation. 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. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many 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.

Seeing a doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the problem. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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