It’s something a lot of individuals cope with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Hearing loss can cause communication obstacles that lead to misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the perfect time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. A wonderful way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will eventually affect the whole brain will be caused when the part of your brain in charge of hearing becomes less active. This is referred to as brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” principle in action.
Depression rates are almost half in individuals who have healthy hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Individuals often become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. The person may start to separate themselves from family and friends. As they fall deeper into depression, people with hearing loss are likely to avoid engaging in the activities they once enjoyed.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become strained. It’s important to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication problems.
Your loved one might not be ready to inform you they are developing hearing loss. They may feel shame and fear. They may be in denial. You might need to do a bit of detective work to determine when it’s time to have the talk.
Here are some outward clues you will have to rely on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:
- Avoiding conversations
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you don’t hear
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Avoiding busy places
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
- Failing to hear alerts, doorbells, and other significant sounds
Look for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.
What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?
Having this conversation may not be easy. A loved one might 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. The steps will be pretty much the same but maybe with some small modifications based on your specific relationship situation.
- Step 1: Let them know that you love them without condition and value your relationship.
- Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
- Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can trigger anxiety. Your loved one might not hear you calling for help if you have a fall or somebody’s broken into the house. People relate to others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Make an appointment to have your hearing tested together. After you make the decision make an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: There might be some objections so be prepared. These could arise at any time in the process. You know this person. What will their objections be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t see a problem? They may feel that home remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss remedies” are not effective and can even be harmful.)
Have your answers prepared beforehand. 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
Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your partner doesn’t want to discuss 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. By having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your partner the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?