Most individuals don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people deal with. Hearing loss can cause communication hurdles that result in misunderstandings and aggravation for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Talking about hearing loss together is an ideal way to do this.
Having “the talk”
A person with neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of experiencing cognitive conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will inevitably affect the entire brain will be initiated when the region of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less engaged. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression numbers amongst people who have hearing loss are almost twice that of an individual who has healthy hearing. Individuals frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can result in the person being self secluded from family and friends. As they sink deeper into sadness, people who have hearing loss are likely to avoid participating in the activities they once enjoyed.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. It’s essential to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication difficulties.
Your loved one might not be ready to let you know they are experiencing hearing loss. They may be afraid or ashamed. Denial might have set in. Deciding when to have the talk may take a little detective work.
Because you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward clues, such as:
- Avoiding conversations
- Not hearing significant sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Watching television with the volume very high
- Avoiding busy places
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
Plan to have a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one if you notice any of these symptoms.
How to talk about hearing loss
This talk may not be an easy one to have. A loved one may become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why discussing hearing loss in the right way is so crucial. You may need to modify your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
- Step 1: Let them know that you love them without condition and appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is important to you. You’ve seen the research. You’re aware that an increased risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
- Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. Your hearing may be harmed by an overly loud TV. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can cause anxiety. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve taken a fall, your partner may not hear you yelling for help. People relate to others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Schedule an appointment to get a hearing test together. After you make the decision make an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: There might be some opposition so be prepared. You could encounter these oppositions at any time in the process. You know this person. What kind of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Possibly they don’t detect that it’s a problem. They may feel that homemade remedies will be good enough. (You’re aware that “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could cause more harm than good.)
Be prepared with your answers. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to discuss it. Openly discussing the impact of hearing loss on your relationship can help to solidify a plan to address any communication challenges and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. By doing this, your relationship will get stronger and your partner will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?