Bright Audiology - Sanford, NC

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

If you realize someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating problem for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. To help get you there, think about these strategies.

Learn More so You Can Discuss it Better

First off, you should understand what is happening yourself so you can describe it. When you grow older your risk of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical name for this type of ear damage. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

There are lots of reasons why presbycusis happens. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are generated by these tiny hair cells. The brain gets the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is impossible without those little hairs.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

The place where you choose to have a discussion with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. The best choice is to set something up so the two of you can meet and have a talk. To ensure you won’t be disturbed, find a quiet place. If you have any literature on the topic, you should bring that also. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that describes presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate subject because it is associated with growing old. Growing older is a hard thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

Be prepared to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat what they said. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you comprehend and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. In order to help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be tough to get past. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same problem.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most important part of this talk is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including 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 you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.

Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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