A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? It’s not an easy subject to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. Ignoring this frustrating issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your loved one’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Consider these suggestions to help get you there.
Do the Research
Discussing the problem is easier if you first comprehend it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the medical name for this form of ear damage. It usually occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. The simplest explanation for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. Electrical signals are produced which go to the brain. 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
All of these can injure the ear and reduce hearing.
Make a Date
The place where you choose to have a discussion with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is your best bet. You don’t want to be disturbed so select a private venue. If you have any written material on the subject, you should also bring that. Presbycusis may be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.
Talk About the Whys
Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a delicate subject. It’s difficult to acknowledge that you are growing older. Poor hearing may 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 need to be specific.
They will have 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 complaining. 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 you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that will encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
The biggest obstacle is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to cope with the same problem.
What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the conversation. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. 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 with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Going to the doctor is the first step. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear exam to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. After that, the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.