Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to show them? Listen to your loved ones, really listen. That involves, of course, the ability to hear.

Studies reveal millions of people would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually use hearing aids, regrettably.

Neglecting your hearing loss results in problems hearing, as well as higher dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.

But spring is almost here. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Talking openly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Important

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in individuals who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that ultimately affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s diminished activity in the part of your brain used for hearing. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.

People with hearing loss have nearly twice as many cases of depression than individuals who have healthy hearing. People with deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, often experience anxiety and agitation. Isolation from friends and family is often the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.

This, in turn, can result in relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one might not be ready to reveal that they are experiencing hearing loss. They might be nervous or ashamed. Maybe they’re going through denial. In order to decide when will be the appropriate time to have this discussion, some detective work may be needed.

Because it’s not possible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may have to rely on some of the following clues:

  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
  • Staying away from conversations
  • Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
  • Agitation or anxiousness in social situations that you haven’t previously observed
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder

Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these common signs.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

It might be difficult to have this talk. A partner in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so important. The steps will be the basically same although you may have to modify your language based on your individual relationship.

Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re concerned. You’ve gone over the studies. You know that untreated hearing loss can cause an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: You’re also worried about your own health and safety. Your hearing can be harmed by excessively loud volumes on the TV and other devices. Relationships can also be impacted by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some research. If someone has broken into your home, or you call out for help, your loved one might not hear you.

Emotion is a key part of robust communication. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.

Step 4: Agree together to schedule an appointment to get a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be ready for your loved ones to have some objections. At any point in the process, they might have these objections. You know this person. What problems will they find? Costs? Time? Do they not admit to a problem? Are they considering trying out home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter replies. You may even practice them in the mirror. You should speak to your loved one’s doubts but you don’t have to use this exact plan word-for-word.

Grow Your Relationship

If your significant other is reluctant to talk, it can be a tough situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Isn’t love all about growing together?

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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