What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? Hearing loss often goes unnoticed by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be enhanced. Consider these tips to help get you there.
Do the Research
Discussing the problem is easier if you first comprehend it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the scientific name for this kind of ear damage. It typically happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss most likely started years before it was noticed.
Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. Basically, many years of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are produced by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
The following chronic health problems can also play a role:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.
Make a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Select a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bring along any literature you can on the subject too. Presbycusis may be discussed 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. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a delicate topic. It’s hard to accept that you are getting older. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be prepared to provide specifics 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 are talking to them. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Sit Back and Listen
Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what they should do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to keep 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 toughest obstacle. Many people don’t realize that they have family and friends on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same problem.
Come Armed With Solutions
The most crucial part of this conversation 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 plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If you can 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 is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.