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. It’s not an easy subject to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. It’s a frustrating issue for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to talk about it. To help get you there, think about these guidelines.

Learn More so You Can Explain it Better

Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first understand it. When you get older your chance of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

The scientific name for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and normally affects both ears equally. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are generated which go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Those hairs are an essential factor of hearing.

The following chronic illnesses can also play a role:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

All of these can injure the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a talk is your best bet. You don’t want to be interrupted so select a quiet venue. If you have any literature on the topic, you should also bring that. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive subject because it is related to aging. Getting older is a difficult thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s idea 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 need to be specific.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Sit Back and Listen

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

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

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

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most significant part of this discussion 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 a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now 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.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that may be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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