The majority of individuals don’t want to discuss the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people cope with. Hearing loss can cause communication obstacles that result in misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
Studies have revealed that a person with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can start a cascade effect that can impact your whole brain. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression numbers amongst individuals with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with healthy hearing. People frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can result in the person being self isolated from family and friends. They are also likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they used to enjoy as they sink deeper into a state of sadness.
This, as a result, can result in relationship strain among mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. It’s essential to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication challenges.
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know they are experiencing hearing loss. They might feel shame and fear. They could be in denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Here are some outward cues you will need to depend on because you can’t hear what others are hearing:
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Watching television with the volume really high
- Not hearing significant sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding busy places
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
Look for these prevalent symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to talk about hearing loss
This discussion may not be an easy one to have. A loved one might become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be basically the same.
- Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve read through the studies. You’re aware that neglected hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. Additionally, research shows that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may affect your relationship. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner may not hear you calling for help. People connect with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Decide together to make an appointment to get a hearing assessment. After you make the decision schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be prepared for objections. You could encounter these objections at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What kind of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t see an issue? They might feel that home remedies will be good enough. (You know “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)
Have your responses prepared ahead of time. Even a bit of practice can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s concerns but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word
If your spouse isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Establishing a plan to tackle potential communication challenges and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will grow stronger and your partner will take steps to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?