Husband talking to his wife about her hearing loss and how to get help.

What is the best thing to do when you realize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? Hearing loss commonly goes unnoticed by those who suffer from it and that makes it much more difficult to bring up. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be bettered. To help get you there, think about these strategies.

Study More so You Can Discuss it Better

You need to understand the issue first before you are able to clarify it. As people get older, the risk of loss of hearing increase for them. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical name for this type of ear damage. 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.

There are numerous reasons presbycusis occurs. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are generated by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

All of these can injure the ear and reduce hearing.

Set a Date

The place where you decide to have a talk with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Choose a setting that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bringing written material on the topic can be quite helpful. 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, loss of hearing can be a sensitive subject. It’s hard to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

Be prepared to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people are talking to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen once you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can motivate 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 feel alone with their condition and don’t understand they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring Solutions

What to do next will be the most important part of the talk. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. 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.

Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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