Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 in three adults between 65 and 74 is coping with hearing loss and millions would benefit from using a hearing aid. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and strained relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Suffering in silence is how many people deal with their hearing loss.

But spring is right around the corner. It’s a time for emerging leaves, flowers, fresh starts, and growing closer. Talking frankly about hearing loss can be a superb way to renew relationships.

Having “The Talk” is Important

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to many studies. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be triggered when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.

Depression cases among individuals with hearing loss are nearly double that of an individual with normal hearing. People who have deteriorating hearing loss, according to research, frequently experience agitation and anxiety. Isolation from family and friends is often the result. They’re prone to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.

This, in turn, can result in strained relationships among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.

Solving The Mystery

Your loved one might not be ready to let you know that they are developing hearing loss. They might be nervous or ashamed. Maybe they’re dealing with denial. In order to decide when will be the right time to have this conversation, some detective work may be necessary.

Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how bad your spouse’s hearing loss is, you might need to depend on some of the following clues:

  • Misunderstanding situations more often
  • essential sounds, like someone calling their name, a doorbell, or a warning alarm are often missed
  • Avoiding busy places
  • Irritation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously noticed
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Watching TV with the volume exceedingly high
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder

Watch for for these common symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.

How to Talk About Hearing Loss

Having this discussion may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive response from a partner in denial. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss correctly. The steps will be the basically same even though you might need to modify your language based on your individual relationship.

Step 1: Make them understand that you appreciate your relationship and have unconditional love for them.

Step 2: You’re worried about their health. You’ve done the research. You’re aware of the higher dementia risk and depression that accompany neglected hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.

Step 3: You’re also concerned about your own health and safety. An overly loud TV could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or someone’s broken into the house.

People connect with others through emotion. Merely listing facts won’t be as effective as painting an emotional picture of the possible consequences.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing exam. Do it right away after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be ready for objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What obstacles will they find? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t improve hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Prepare your counter replies. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s doubts.

Grow Your Relationship

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to consider it. But by having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?

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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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