The majority of individuals don’t want to discuss the effect hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people deal with. Hearing loss can create communication obstacles that result in misunderstandings and aggravation for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
A person with untreated hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely risk of experiencing cognitive disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will eventually affect the entire brain will be initiated when the part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less active. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. You remember how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression rates among those with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with healthy hearing. People often become anxious and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. The individual could begin to isolate themselves from family and friends. As they fall deeper into sadness, people with hearing loss are likely to avoid engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and other people in this person’s life. It’s essential to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication problems.
Your loved one may not be ready to tell you they are experiencing hearing loss. They might feel embarrassment and fear. Denial may have set in. Deciding when to have the talk could take a bit of detective work.
Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on external clues, like:
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other important sounds
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Avoiding conversations
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Turning the volume way up on your TV
- Avoiding busy places
Plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you observe any of these symptoms.
How to discuss hearing loss
Having this discussion may not be easy. A loved one may become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s essential to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. You might 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 are worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
- Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. Your hearing may be harmed by an overly loud TV. Additionally, research shows that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which may affect your relationship. If you have a burglar in your house or you’ve taken a fall, your partner might not hear you calling for help. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it will have more impact than merely listing facts.
- Step 4: Schedule an appointment to get a hearing test together. After you make the decision schedule an appointment right away. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be ready for opposition. These could occur at any time in the process. You know this person. What sort of doubts will they have? Money? Time? Maybe they don’t detect that it’s a problem. They might feel that homemade remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss remedies” aren’t effective and can even be harmful.)
Be ready with your responses. You might even practice them in the mirror. These responses need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word
Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner isn’t willing to talk about it. Openly talking about the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to establish a plan to deal with any communication challenges and make sure that both partners are heard and understood. In this way, your relationship will grow stronger and your partner will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?