The majority of individuals don’t want to talk about the impact hearing loss has on relationships, even though it’s an issue many people cope with. Hearing loss can cause communication hurdles that lead to misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the perfect time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. A wonderful 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, including Alzheimer’s disease. When the part of your brain used for hearing becomes less active, it can begin a cascade effect that can affect your entire brain. This is called brain atrophy by doctors. You know how the old saying goes, “use it or lose it”.
Depression rates are almost half in people who have normal hearing compared to people who have hearing loss. People frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss worsens according to research. This can lead to the person being self isolated from family and friends. They are also likely to avoid getting involved in the activities they used to enjoy as they sink deeper into a state of depression.
This, as a result, can result in relationship strain among mother and son, father and daughter, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. It’s important to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication problems.
Somebody who is experiencing hearing loss might not be ready to talk about it. They may be afraid or ashamed. 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.
Here are a few external cues you will have to rely on because you can’t hear what other people are hearing:
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other important sounds
- Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other sounds that you don’t hear
- Watching television with the volume really high
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Avoiding busy places
- Avoiding conversations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
Watch for these prevalent symptoms and plan on having a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
What is the best way to discuss hearing loss?
This talk may not be an easy one to have. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the right way is so important. You may need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.
- Step 1: Tell them that you love them unconditionally and value your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is important to you. You’ve read the studies. You’re aware that untreated hearing loss can lead to a higher chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. An overly loud television could harm your hearing. In addition, research shows that increased noise can create anxiety, which may impact your relationship. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you have a fall or somebody’s broken into the house. People connect with others through emotion. Simply listing facts won’t be as impactful as painting an emotional picture.
- Step 4: Make an appointment to have your hearing tested together. After you make the decision schedule an appointment right away. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be prepared for opposition. You could encounter these objections at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What kind of objections will they have? Money? Time? Maybe they don’t detect that it’s a problem. Do they believe they can utilize do-it-yourself remedies? (“Natural hearing loss cures” are not effective and can even be harmful.)
Be prepared with your responses. You might even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word, but they should concentrate on your loved one’s worries.
If your spouse isn’t willing to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Developing a plan to deal with potential communication problems and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their worries will be heard and understood. By having this conversation, you’ll grow closer and get your partner the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?