It’s Hard to Know What You Should do About A Loved One Who Has Hearing Loss

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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Usually, people who suffer from slow loss of hearing don’t realize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. Ignoring this frustrating issue is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these guidelines.

Study More so You Can Explain it Better

To start with, you should comprehend what is going on yourself so you are able to describe it. When you grow older your risk of suffering from hearing loss raises. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half have it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the scientific name for this type of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. It’s likely that this person began losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are created by these tiny hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be hurt by each one of these.

Set a Date

The place where you decide to have a talk with your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best option is to set something up so you both can meet and talk. To make sure you won’t be disturbed, select a quiet spot. If you have any written material on the topic, you should bring that also. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

The reaction you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a delicate topic. It’s tough to acknowledge that you are getting older. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their everyday 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.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking 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

Once you have said what you need to, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member may share concerns or say they have recognized some changes but didn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about what they’re going through 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 can be hard to get past. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring Solutions

What to do next will be the most crucial part of the conversation. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Get an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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