Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.

Research reveals one out of three adults between 65 and 74 is experiencing hearing loss and millions would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, regrettably.

This inaction results in difficulty hearing, as well as increased dementia rates, depression, and stressed relationships. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we enjoy blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, beginning new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?

Having “The Talk” is Necessary

Studies have observed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active, it can initiate a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is referred to as “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” principle at work.

Individuals with hearing loss have almost twice as many instances of depression than people who have healthy hearing. Individuals who have worsening hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience anxiety and agitation. The person may start to isolate themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to fall deeper into depression as they stop engaging in activities once loved.

This, in turn, can result in relationship strain amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this person’s life.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one may not think they can talk to you about their hearing issues. They may be nervous or embarrassed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. You might need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to have the conversation.

Since you can’t hear what your loved one hears, you’ll have to rely on outward cues, such as:

  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Staying away from conversations
  • Turning the volume way up on the TV
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
  • Avoiding busy places
  • essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are frequently missed
  • New levels of anxiety in social settings

Plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one if you notice any of these common symptoms.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this discussion may not be easy. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in an appropriate way is so significant. You might need to modify your language based on your distinct relationship, but the steps will be the same for the most part.

Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that come with untreated hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which may effect your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen down or somebody’s broken into the house.

Emotion is an essential part of robust communication. Merely listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture of the possible repercussions.

Step 4: Agree together to make an appointment to have a hearing test. After deciding, make the appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be ready for objections. At any point in the process, they could have these objections. This is someone you know well. What will they object to? Money? Time? Are they convinced it’s not a big deal? Do they think they can use home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.

Be prepared with your responses. Perhaps you rehearse them ahead of time. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your loved one isn’t willing to consider it. But you’ll get your loved one the assistance they need to live a long healthy life and grow closer by having this conversation. Isn’t love all about growing closer?

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