Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

What is the best thing you can do when you realize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? Hearing loss commonly goes overlooked by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. Ignoring this frustrating issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be enhanced by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these strategies.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

To start with, you should comprehend what is going on yourself so you are able to explain it. As people get older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three have some amount of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is called presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. To put it simply, years of listening to sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these tiny hair cells. The brain gets the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

All of these can injure the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the discussion. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. You don’t want to be interrupted so pick a private venue. Bringing written material on the topic can be quite helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.

Talk About the Whys

The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Hearing loss is a delicate subject because it is related to growing old. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.

Be prepared to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

After you have said what you need to, be prepared to settle-back and listen. Your family member may express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but didn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that might be tough to get past. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t understand they have family and friends on the other side. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to deal with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next will be the most crucial part of the talk. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in many 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 that are now available.

Finally, 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 scheduling an ear exam. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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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