What is the best thing you can do when you realize 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. Ignoring this difficult issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be bettered 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.
Study More so You Can Discuss it Better
Outlining the issue is easier if you first understand it. When you get older your risk of being affected by hearing loss raises. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.
This type of ear damage is called presbycusis. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
There are many reasons presbycusis happens. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. Electrical messages are generated which go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.
The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
All of these can harm the ear and impair the hearing.
Set a Date
The place where you decide to talk to your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best option is to schedule something so you both can meet and have a talk. To guarantee you won’t be disturbed, choose a quiet spot. If you have any written material on the topic, you should bring that also. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Hearing loss is a delicate topic because it is associated with aging. Growing older is a hard thing to accept. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their daily lives.
Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Be Prepared to Listen
After you have said what needs to be said, be ready to sit back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what to 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
The most difficult challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel alone with their problem and don’t understand they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.
Lastly, recommend that the first place to begin 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. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.