Someone you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Hearing loss often goes undetected by those who suffer from it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. No one is helped by neglecting this frustrating problem. Your loved one’s life will be bettered by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, think about these strategies.
Study More so You Can Explain it Better
Discussing the problem is easier if you first comprehend it. As people grow older, the chances of hearing loss increase for them. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.
This type of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss probably began years before it was detected.
There are lots of reasons why presbycusis occurs. The most basic explanation for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical signals that 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 impact of chronic illnesses like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
All of these can harm the ear and reduce hearing.
Set a Date
What you say to your loved one is important but it’s also important where you have the discussion. The best option is to set something up so the two of you can get together and have a talk. Select a setting that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. Bring with you any literature you can on the topic too. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.
Talk About the Whys
The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive topic because it is related to aging. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. The elderly fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think 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 seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Once you have said what needs to be said, be ready to sit back and listen. Your family member may share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but didn’t know what to do. Ask questions that will encourage this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the greatest challenge. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered ways to deal with the same problem.
Come Armed With Solutions
The most crucial part of this talk is going to be what should be done next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are plenty of tools available to help, such as 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.
Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.