Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

You care deeply about your loved ones and want to do something to let them know? Really listen when your loved ones talk to you. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.

According to research, millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. But only 30% of those people actually use hearing aids, unfortunately.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some consequences of this inaction. Many individuals experiencing hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and getting closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by talking openly about hearing loss?

It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is 2.4 times more likely in people who have neglected hearing loss according to several studies. A cascade effect that ultimately impacts the entire brain can be triggered when there’s decreased activity in the region of your brain responsible for hearing. Doctors refer to this as brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.

Depression cases among people with hearing loss are nearly double that of somebody with normal hearing. Research demonstrates that as a person’s hearing loss worsens, they often become anxious and agitated. Isolation from friends and family is often the consequence. They’re likely to fall deeper into melancholy as they stop participating in activities once loved.

This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain among spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.

Solving The Puzzle

Your loved one might not think they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or shame might be a problem for them. Perhaps they’re going through denial. You might need to do some detective work to determine when it’s time to have the conversation.

Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll have to depend on outward cues, such as:

  • Ringing, buzzing, and other sounds that no one else can hear
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Not hearing imperative sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or somebody calling their name
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Avoiding conversations
  • New levels of anxiety in social settings
  • Steering clear of places with lots of activity and people

Watch for for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this discussion might not be easy. A partner in denial might brush it off or become defensive. That’s why it’s important to approach hearing loss properly. You may need to adjust your language based on your unique relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.

Step 1: Let them know that you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.

Step 2: Their health is important to you and you’re worried. You’ve done the research. You know that untreated hearing loss can result in an increased chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want that for your loved one.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a worry. Your hearing can be damaged by excessively high volumes on the TV and other devices. In addition, studies show that elevated noise can lead to anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If somebody has broken into your house, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.

People connect with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more effective than just listing facts.

Step 4: Come to an agreement that it’s time for a hearing assessment. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t procrastinate.

Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These could occur anytime during the process. You know this individual. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Are they thinking about trying home remedies? Be aware that these natural remedies don’t help hearing loss and can actually do more harm.

Be ready with your responses. Perhaps you practice them beforehand. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should answer your loved one’s concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a tricky situation. But by having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more satisfying life. Isn’t love all about growing closer?

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