How Should You Address a Loved One About Their Hearing Loss?

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

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should you do. Hearing loss commonly goes overlooked by those who have it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. Ignoring this difficult issue is not helpful for anyone involved. Your family member’s life will be bettered by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Consider these suggestions to help get you there.

Study More so You Can Discuss it Better

You should recognize the issue first before you are able to clarify it. The risks of hearing loss become greater as people grow older. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and greater than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

Presbycusis is the medical term for this kind of ear damage. The effect is gradual and generally affects both ears equally. Years before anyone noticed, it’s probable that this person started losing their hearing.

There are many reasons why presbycusis occurs. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, specifically the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are generated by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a message that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

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

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

Each one can injure the ear and reduce hearing.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. The best option is to set something up so the two of you can get together and have a talk. You don’t want to be interrupted so go with a quiet location. Bringing written material on the topic can be very helpful. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive topic because it is related to growing old. Growing older is a hard thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their daily lives.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will need to be specific.

Discuss that you need to constantly repeat yourself while having conversations, too. Keep the talk 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 ready to sit back and listen after you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might have noticed some changes and may have other concern but doesn’t know what they should do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that can be difficult to get past. Many people feel isolated with their condition and don’t realize they have family and friends on the other side. Talk about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Bring Solutions

The most significant part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are plenty of tools available to help, including hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your issue by getting an ear examination. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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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