Most individuals don’t want to discuss the effect hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people deal with. Both partners can feel aggravated by the misunderstandings that are created by hearing loss.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner isn’t it a great time to show your love and appreciation for your loved one? Talking about hearing loss together is a great way to do this.
Having “the talk”
Studies have found that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. When the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged, it can begin a cascade effect that can impact your entire brain. This is called brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression cases are almost half in people who have healthy hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. People frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss progresses according to research. This can lead to the person being self secluded from family and friends. As they fall deeper into depression, people who have hearing loss are likely to avoid taking part in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, as a result, can lead to relationship strain among mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. It’s important to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication difficulties.
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know they’re experiencing hearing loss. They may be afraid or embarrassed. They could be in denial. You may need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on external clues, such as:
- Avoiding busy places
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Avoiding conversations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
- Not hearing vital sounds, such as the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
Plan to have a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one if you notice any of these symptoms.
What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?
This discussion might not be an easy one to have. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why discussing hearing loss in an appropriate manner is so crucial. You may need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be more or less the same.
- Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You know that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with untreated hearing loss. That’s not what you want for your loved one.
- Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own safety and health. An excessively loud television could harm your hearing. Additionally, research shows that increased noise can create anxiety, which might affect your relationship. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you have a fall or someone’s broken into the house. Emotion is a powerful way to connect with others. Simply listing facts won’t have as much impact as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to get a hearing assessment. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: There might be some opposition so be prepared. You could encounter these objections at any time in the process. You know this person. What sort of objections will they have? Money? Time? Maybe they don’t see that it’s a problem. They might feel that homemade remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss cures” are not effective and can even be harmful.)
Be ready with your responses. You might even rehearse them in the mirror. These answers need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word
If your partner is unwilling to discuss their hearing loss, it can be difficult. Openly talking about the impact of hearing loss on your relationship can help to solidify a plan to address any communication issues and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?