Most people don’t want to talk about the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s a problem many people cope with. Hearing loss can cause communication obstacles that lead to 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. A great way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
Studies have revealed that a person with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will inevitably affect the entire brain will be initiated when the part of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” idea in action.
Depression cases are nearly half in people who have healthy hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. The individual may start to seclude themselves from family and friends. As they sink deeper into depression, people with hearing loss are likely to stop taking part in the activities they once enjoyed.
Relationships between family, friends, and others then become strained. It’s essential to be patient and work together to find solutions to communication difficulties.
Your loved one may not be ready to let you know they’re developing hearing loss. They might feel shame and fear. They may be in denial. You may need to do a bit of detective work to figure out when it’s time to have the conversation.
Since you can’t hear what your partner or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on outward cues, such as:
- Watching television with the volume really high
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other significant sounds
- School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
- Avoiding conversations
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Avoiding busy places
- Repeated misunderstandings
Watch for these common symptoms and plan to have 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 spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why discussing hearing loss in the right way is so crucial. The steps will be pretty much the same but possibly with some slight modifications based on your specific relationship situation.
- Step 1: Inform them how much you love them without condition and how much you value your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve seen the research. You’re aware that untreated hearing loss can result in a higher chance of depression and dementia. You don’t want your loved one to deal with that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a worry. An excessively loud television could damage your hearing. Also, your relationship can be impacted, as studies have shown that excessively loud noise can cause anxiety. Your loved one might not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it will have more impact than merely listing facts.
- Step 4: Make an appointment to get a hearing test together. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
- Step 5: Be ready for objections. These could arise anywhere in the process. You know this person. What sort of doubts will they have? Will it be lack of time, or money? Maybe they don’t see that it’s a problem. Do they think they can utilize do-it-yourself methods? (You’re aware that “natural hearing loss cures” don’t actually work and could do more harm than good.)
Have your responses prepared ahead of time. Even a little rehearsal can’t hurt. These responses need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word
If your spouse isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Establishing a plan to tackle potential communication problems and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their concerns will be heard and understood. By having this talk, 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.
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