If your Loved One Has Hearing Loss How Can You Talk To Them?

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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Normally, people who have slow loss of hearing don’t realize it so that makes it a hard subject to talk about. No one is helped by disregarding this frustrating problem. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these tips.

Do the Research

Outlining the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. When you grow older your risk of being affected by hearing loss raises. About one in every three people suffer from some degree of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the scientific term for this type of ear damage. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears equally. This hearing loss probably started years before it was noticed.

There are numerous reasons presbycusis happens. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these tiny hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by all of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. The best choice is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and talk. It’s important not to be disturbed so select a quiet location. Bringing literature on the topic is also quite helpful. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Hearing loss is a delicate topic because it is associated with aging. It’s hard to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.

They will need to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to continue talking about what they’re going through to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

Hearing loss comes with a lot of fear and that may be difficult to get past. Many people don’t recognize that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most important part of the discussion. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Lastly, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Get an ear exam and 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.

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.