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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 you do. It’s not an easy subject to talk about because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is helped by ignoring this frustrating problem. Find a way to talk about it with your loved one now so that their life can be enhanced. Think about these strategies to help get you there.

If You Want to be Able to Explain it Better, do The Research

You need to understand the issue first if you want to be able to clarify it. The chances of hearing loss become greater as people get older. About one person out of every three have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

The medical term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It usually occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. This hearing loss most likely began years before it was detected.

There are lots of reasons why presbycusis happens. Simply put, many years of hearing sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, particularly the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are created by these tiny hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Hearing is reduced and the ear can be hurt by each one of these.

Set a Date

What you say to your loved one is important but it’s also important where you have the discussion. The best option is to set something up so the two of you can get together and have a talk. To guarantee you won’t be interrupted, find a quiet venue. Bringing literature on the subject can be quite helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The reaction you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate subject because it is related to aging. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they might believe poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be ready to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Discuss that you need to keep repeating yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Once you have said what you need to, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might express concerns or say they have recognized some changes but didn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to keep talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

The biggest obstacle is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t realize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

The most significant part of this talk is going to be what should be done next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. 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 is permanent. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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