A person you love has hearing loss, now what? Hearing loss commonly goes undetected by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these tips.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
You need to comprehend the issue first if you want to be able to clarify it. As people grow older, the chances of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
The medical term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears similarly. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody noticed.
Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. Basically, years of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are created that go to the brain. The brain gets the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.
The impact of chronic illnesses like:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Each one can damage the ear and impair the hearing.
Set a Date
Where you decide to talk to your loved one is just as important as what you say. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is the best bet. To ensure you won’t be interrupted, pick a quiet venue. Bringing written material on the topic is also quite helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
The reaction you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate subject because it is associated with getting old. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.
You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.
Discuss that you need to constantly repeat yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Once you have said what you need to, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Talk About the Support System
Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that can be difficult to get past. Many people don’t recognize that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found ways to cope with the same problem.
What to do next will be the most important part of the conversation. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. 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. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.
Seeing a doctor is the first step. Some hearing loss is temporary. Have an ear examination to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.