Someone you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Usually, people who have gradual loss of hearing 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 family member’s life will be improved by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, consider these tips.
Do the Research
You should understand the problem first before you are able to clarify it. As people get older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.
The scientific term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears similarly. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody noticed.
There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. Basically, years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are produced by these little hair cells. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.
Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.
Set a Date
What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the conversation. The best option is to schedule something so the two of you can get together and have a talk. To make sure you won’t be interrupted, select a quiet place. Bringing literature on the subject is also very helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive subject. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Senior citizens struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.
Be ready to offer specifics 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 talk to them. Keep the talk casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.
Now it’s Time to Listen
After you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that encourage them to keep talking.
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 don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk to them about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they found ways to live with hearing loss.
Come Armed With Solutions
What to do next is going to 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, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many 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.
Finally, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear exam to rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.