Someone you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? It’s not an easy subject to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will improve the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with finding a way to talk about it. Consider these guidelines to help get you there.
Do the Research
Firstly, you should understand what is taking place yourself so you are able to explain it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one in every three people have some amount of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the medical name for this type of ear damage. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone detected it, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis happens for many reasons. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical messages that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by all of these.
Make a Date
Where you decide to have a discussion with your loved one is just as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is your best bet. Find a venue that is quiet and ensures you won’t be interrupted. Bringing written material on the topic is also quite helpful. For example, the doctor might have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.
Talk About the Whys
The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is associated with aging. It’s hard to acknowledge that you are growing older. Senior citizens struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.
They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Now it’s Time 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 to do. To help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which encourage them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest challenge. Many people don’t understand that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the discussion. Let your loved one know 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 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 various devices which are now available.
Finally, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.