A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? It’s not an easy thing to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to discuss it. Consider these tips to help get you there.
If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research
Discussing the problem is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. When you grow older your chance of suffering from hearing loss raises. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after 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 noticed, it’s likely that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis occurs for several reasons. Simply put, many years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. Electrical messages are produced that 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.
Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Hearing is impaired and the ear can be injured by each one of these.
Make a Date
It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Scheduling something so you can have a talk is your best bet. Find a place that is quiet and ensures you won’t be interrupted. Bring along any written material you can on the topic too. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that describes 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 sensitive subject. Getting older is a hard thing to acknowledge. Older people fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be ready to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Be Prepared to Listen
Be ready 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 can encourage this person to keep talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
The most difficult challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
The most crucial part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many 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. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.