Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

If you discover someone you love has hearing loss what should be done. Hearing loss often goes undetected by those who suffer from 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. Your loved one’s life will be bettered by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Consider these strategies to help get you there.

Do the Research

You should recognize the issue first before you are able to explain it. The risks of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This type of ear damage is called presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

Persbyscusis happens for many reasons. Simply put, years of listening to sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. These hair cells generate electrical messages 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.

Chronic sicknesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Hearing is reduced and the ear can be damaged by all of these.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. Scheduling something so you can have a conversation is the best bet. To make sure you won’t be interrupted, select a quiet spot. Bringing written material on the topic is also very helpful. For example, the doctor might have a brochure that explains presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a sensitive topic. Growing older is a difficult thing to accept. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their daily lives.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

Mention that you need to constantly repeat yourself while having conversations, too. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but were unsure what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

The greatest challenge is going to be getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people feel isolated with their problem and don’t realize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Talk about others in the family who have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this conversation is going to be what to do next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.

Lastly, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem by getting an ear examination. After that the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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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