A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Hearing loss commonly goes overlooked by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to bring up. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will improve the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with discovering a way to discuss it. Consider these strategies to help get you there.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
To start with, you need to understand what is taking place yourself so you are able to explain it. As people grow older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. 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 the age of 75.
The scientific name for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. This hearing loss probably started years before it was detected.
Persbyscusis occurs for numerous reasons. Simply put, years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical signals that go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. The best choice is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and talk. You don’t want to be disturbed so decide on a quiet location. Bringing literature on the topic can be very helpful. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that explains presbycusis.
Talk About the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate topic because it is related to getting old. Growing older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.
Be ready to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself during conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Now it’s Time to Listen
After you have said what needs to be said, be ready to settle-back and listen. Your family member may express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but didn’t know what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which encourage them to keep talking.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
The biggest challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t recognize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. 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.
Seeing a doctor is step one. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Have an ear exam to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.