A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Normally, people who suffer from slow hearing loss don’t realize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. Ignoring this difficult problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. Think about these tips to help get you there.
Do the Research
Explaining the issue is easier if you first understand it. When you get older your chance of being affected by hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three have some degree of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
The scientific term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person began losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.
Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are created that go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.
The following chronic health problems can also play a role:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be injured by all of these.
Make a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. You don’t want to be interrupted so decide on a quiet spot. Bringing written material on the subject can be quite helpful. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that explains presbycusis.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
The response 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. Growing older is a hard thing to accept. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their everyday 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.
Discuss that you need to constantly repeat yourself during conversations, too. 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
Once you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries 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
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest obstacle. Many people don’t realize that they have family and friends on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same problem.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
What to do next will be the most important part of the talk. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in all 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.
Going to the doctor is the first step. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.