It’s something a lot of people cope with, but most don’t want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Hearing loss can create communication obstacles that result in misunderstandings and aggravation for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Talking about hearing loss together is a great way to do this.
Having “the talk”
A person with neglected hearing loss has a 2.4 times more likely chance of experiencing cognitive disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease according to some studies. A cascade effect that will inevitably affect the whole brain will be caused when the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression cases are nearly half in individuals who have healthy hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss progresses, they frequently become anxious and agitated. The person could start to isolate themselves from family and friends. They are also likely to stop getting involved in the activities they used to enjoy as they fall deeper into a state of sadness.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. Communication issues need to be handled with patients and compassion.
Your loved one might not be ready to tell you they’re experiencing hearing loss. They may be afraid or ashamed. Denial might have set in. Deciding when to have the talk could take a little detective work.
Here are a few external clues you will have to rely on because you can’t hear what others are hearing:
- Not hearing significant sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
- Avoiding busy places
- Repeated misunderstandings
- Avoiding conversations
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
Plan on having a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one if you notice any of these symptoms.
How to discuss hearing loss
Having this talk might not be easy. A spouse in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the right way is so crucial. You might need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be basically the same.
- Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve read through the research. You’re aware that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
- Step 3: You’re also worried about your own safety and health. An excessively loud TV could damage your hearing. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have revealed that overly loud noise can cause anxiety. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you have a fall or somebody’s broken into the house. People relate to others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it will have more impact than simply listing facts.
- Step 4: Schedule an appointment to get a hearing test together. After you make the decision schedule an appointment right away. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: Be prepared for objections. You could encounter these objections at any point in the process. You know this person. What sort of objections will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Possibly they don’t detect that it’s an issue. Do they believe they can utilize homemade remedies? (You’re aware that “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)
Be prepared with your responses. You may even practice them in the mirror. They don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should address your loved one’s concerns.
Discussing hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other doesn’t want to talk about it. Openly talking about the effect of hearing loss on your relationship can help to solidify a plan to deal with any communication challenges and ensure that both partners are heard and understood. By having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your partner the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. And relationships are, after all, about growing together.