If you discover someone you love has hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to bring up because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is benefited by ignoring this frustrating problem. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. Consider these suggestions to help get you there.
Do the Research
Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. As people grow older, the risk of hearing loss increase for them. About one in every three people have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.
This kind of ear damage is called presbycusis. It typically happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone detected it, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.
Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. The most basic explanation for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little 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. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.
Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by each one of these.
Set a Date
What you say to your loved one is important but it’s also important where you have the conversation. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. To ensure you won’t be interrupted, choose a quiet venue. If you have any literature on the subject, you should bring that also. Presbycusis might be explained in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, for example.
Let’s Discuss the Whys
Expect this person to be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is related to growing old. Getting older is a tough thing to acknowledge. 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 why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.
Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.
Now it’s Time to Listen
After you have said what you need to, be prepared to settle-back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other worries but doesn’t know what to do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which encourage them to keep talking.
Talk About the Support System
The most difficult challenge is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t understand that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to deal with the same issue.
Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
The most important part of this conversation is going to be what to do next. Make your loved one aware 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. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.
Lastly, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear exam to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the issue. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.