A person you love has hearing loss, now what? Hearing loss frequently goes unnoticed by those who suffer from it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be bettered. To help get you there, consider these suggestions.
Do the Research
Outlining the issue is much easier if you first understand it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people grow older. About one person out of every three have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the scientific term for this type of ear damage. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone detected it, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.
There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. Basically, decades of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are created by these tiny hair cells. The brain gets the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be hurt by each one of these.
Set a Date
What you say to your loved one is important however it’s also important where you have the conversation. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is the best bet. To ensure you won’t be disturbed, pick a quiet spot. Bring with you any written material you can on the topic too. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that explains presbycusis.
Talk About the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive subject. It’s hard to accept that you are getting older. Senior citizens struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be prepared to offer specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Sit Back and Listen
Once you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member may express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. In order to help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be hard to get past. Many people feel on their own with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
Come Armed With Solutions
The most significant part of this talk is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. 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. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.