What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy thing to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is helped by neglecting this frustrating problem. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to talk about it. Think about these suggestions to help get you there.
Do the Research
You need to recognize the problem first before you are able to explain it. When you grow older your chance of getting hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the medical name for this type of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody noticed.
Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. To put it simply, decades of hearing sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are generated that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.
Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Each one can damage the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important however it’s also important where you have the discussion. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is your best bet. Choose a venue that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. If you have any literature on the topic, you should bring that also. Presbycusis may be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.
Talk About the Whys
The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Hearing loss is a sensitive subject because it is related to aging. It’s hard to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.
You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.
Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself during conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Be Prepared to Listen
Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be tough to get past. Many people don’t understand that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their problem. Talk to them about others in the family who 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 crucial part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots 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.
Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Have an ear exam and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.