What is the best thing to do when you realize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? Normally, people who suffer from slow loss of hearing don’t recognize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. No one is helped by disregarding this frustrating issue. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these strategies.
Do the Research
Firstly, you need to recognize what is going on yourself so you can describe it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one in every three people suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.
Presbycusis is the technical name for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. Chances are this person started losing some hearing years before anybody noticed.
There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. Basically, years of listening to sound eventually breaks down the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical signals that go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Each one can damage the ear and impair the hearing.
Make a Date
What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the conversation. The best choice is to set something up so you both can meet and have a talk. To guarantee you won’t be interrupted, choose a quiet venue. If you have any literature on the subject, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that describes presbycusis.
Talk About the Whys
The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Hearing loss is a delicate topic because it is related to aging. Getting older is a hard thing to acknowledge. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.
You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.
Sit Back and Listen
Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member may express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what they should do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.
Let Them Know They Have a Support System
Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest obstacle. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t understand they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.
Come Armed With Solutions
What to do next is going to be the most significant part of the discussion. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. 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. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.