What is the best thing to do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is benefited by disregarding this frustrating problem. 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. Think about these suggestions to help get you there.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
To start with, you need to understand what is happening yourself so you are able to describe it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people grow older. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
This kind of ear damage is called presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears similarly. This hearing loss probably started years before it was noticed.
There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are generated which go to the brain. The brain gets the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Each one can harm the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the conversation. The best way to go is to schedule something so the two of you can get together and talk. Choose a venue that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. Bring along whatever written material you can on the topic too. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.
Talk About the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate topic. It’s tough to acknowledge that you are getting older. Older people fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be ready to offer 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 sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Be Prepared to Listen
After you have said what you need to, be prepared to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know 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
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest obstacle. Many people feel on their own with their problem and don’t recognize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to deal with the same issue.
The most important part of this talk is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.
Seeing a doctor is the first step. Some hearing loss goes away. Have an ear exam to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the problem. Then the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.