What is the best thing to 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 much more difficult to bring up. 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 bettered. To help get you there, consider these tips.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
You need to understand the problem first before you are able to explain it. When you grow older your chance of being affected by hearing loss raises. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
This form of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone detected it, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis occurs for numerous reasons. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. Electrical messages are generated which go to the brain. 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 following chronic health problems can also play a role:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
All of these can harm the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the talk. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Pick a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bringing literature on the topic is also quite helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that explains presbycusis.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate topic. It’s difficult to accept that you are getting older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their daily lives.
You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.
Discuss that you need to keep repeating yourself during conversations, too. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Sit Back and Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to keep talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
The biggest challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t realize that they have family and friends on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Lastly, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.