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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what? Normally, people who have slow hearing loss don’t recognize it so that makes it a hard subject to approach. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Your loved one’s life will be bettered by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

You should recognize the issue first before you are able to clarify it. As people grow older, the chances 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 suffer from it after the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is called presbycusis. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears similarly. Years before anyone noticed, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.

Persbyscusis occurs for several reasons. Basically, decades of hearing sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are created by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

All of these can damage the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the discussion. The best choice is to set something up so you both can meet and talk. Pick a place that is quiet and ensures you won’t be interrupted. Bringing written material on the topic is also very helpful. 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. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive subject. Growing older is a tough thing to acknowledge. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they may believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

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 keep repeating yourself during conversations, too. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should 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

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that may be hard to get past. Many people feel alone with their condition and don’t recognize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most important part of this discussion is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots 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. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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