If Someone You Love Has Hearing Loss How Can You Discuss it With Them?

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

If you realize someone you love has hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy subject to bring up because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. To help get you there, consider these strategies.

Do the Research

Discussing the issue is much easier if you first understand it. When you get older your chance of getting hearing loss raises. About one in every three people have some amount of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the technical term for this type of ear damage. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was detected.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. Simply put, many years of listening to sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are generated by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be damaged by each one of these.

Make a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s equally important where you have the talk. The best choice is to schedule something so the two of you can meet and have a talk. To make sure you won’t be disturbed, pick a quiet venue. If you have any literature on the topic, you should bring that also. For example, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is related to getting old. It’s tough to acknowledge that you are getting older. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their day-to-day lives.

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

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. In order to help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

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

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most significant 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 many shapes and sizes. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Lastly, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss is temporary. Have an ear examination and rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.


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