What is the best thing to do when you realize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? Normally, people who have gradual loss of hearing don’t recognize it so that makes it a difficult subject to talk about. Ignoring this difficult issue is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to talk about it. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.
Do the Research
Outlining the problem is much easier if you first comprehend it. When you grow older your chance of being affected by hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the technical name for this form of ear damage. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears equally. Years before anyone noticed, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little hair cells. These hair cells produce 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.
Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by all of these.
Set a Date
The place where you choose to talk to your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best way to go is to set something up so the two of you can meet and talk. To guarantee you won’t be disturbed, choose a quiet spot. Bring with you any literature you can on the subject too. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate topic. Growing older is a difficult thing to accept. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. 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
After you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
The biggest challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel on their own with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same issue.
Come Armed With Solutions
The most crucial part of this conversation is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Going to the doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your issue by getting an ear exam. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.