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

What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that a loved one is suffering from hearing loss? It’s not an easy subject to talk about because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one as soon as possible so that their life can be improved. Think about these guidelines to help get you there.

Do the Research

Firstly, you need to comprehend what is happening yourself so you are able to explain it. The risks of hearing loss increase as people grow older. About one in every three people have some amount of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is called presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person started losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

There are numerous reasons why presbycusis happens. Basically, many years of hearing sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are created that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Each one can damage the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

Where you decide to talk to your loved one is equally as important as what you say. The best choice is to schedule something so the two of you can get together and talk. To guarantee you won’t be interrupted, choose a quiet place. Bringing written material on the subject is also quite helpful. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is related to aging. It’s difficult to acknowledge that you are growing older. Older people fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be ready to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Discuss that you need to constantly repeat yourself while having conversations, too. Keep the conversation casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that could be hard to get past. Many people feel alone with their problem and don’t realize 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 found ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring 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 a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come in all sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices that are now 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 examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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