It’s Hard to Determine What to do About A Loved One Who Has Loss of Hearing

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

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should you do. Hearing loss often goes unnoticed by those who have it and that makes it much more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the answer. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to discuss it. Consider these guidelines to help get you there.

Study More so You Can Discuss it Better

Explaining the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. As people get older, the chances of loss of hearing increase for them. About one in every three people suffer from some amount of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is technically known as presbycusis. It typically occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Years before anyone detected it, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons presbycusis occurs. Simply put, decades of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical signals that go to the brain. The brain receives the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the conversation. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. Go with a place that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be disturbed. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should bring that also. Presbycusis may be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Talk About the Whys

The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate topic because it is associated with getting old. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily 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 sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

After you have said what you need to, be ready to sit back and listen. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the biggest challenge. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their condition. Talk to them about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring Solutions

The most important part of this conversation is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are plenty of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices that are now available.

Lastly, recommend 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 may be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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