It’s something a lot of people suffer with, but few want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Hearing loss can cause communication hurdles that result in misunderstandings and frustration for both partners.
This is the ideal time for you to show your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. A great way to do this is to have a discussion about your hearing loss.
Having “the talk”
Studies have revealed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will eventually affect the whole brain will be caused when the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less active. This is called brain atrophy by doctors. It’s the “use it or lose it” concept in action.
Depression cases are nearly half in people who have normal hearing compared to those who have hearing loss. Individuals frequently become stressed and agitated as their hearing loss progresses according to research. The person could start to separate themselves from family and friends. As they fall deeper into sadness, people who have hearing loss are likely to stop participating in the activities they once enjoyed.
This, as a result, can result in relationship strain among mother and son, daughter and father, close friends, spouses, and others in this person’s life. Communication issues need to be handled with patients and compassion.
Your loved one may not be ready to inform you they’re experiencing hearing loss. They might be afraid or embarrassed. They could be in denial. Deciding when to have the talk may take a bit of detective work.
Because you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll need to rely on external cues, such as:
- Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear
- Avoiding conversations
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Starting to notice anxiety and agitation in social situations
- Avoiding busy places
- Failing to hear alarms, doorbells, and other essential sounds
- Sudden difficulty with work, hobbies, or school
- Cranking the volume way up on your TV
Watch for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one.
How to talk about hearing loss
This discussion may not be an easy one to have. A spouse in denial may brush it off or become defensive. That’s why discussing hearing loss in the right way is so important. You might need to alter your language based on your unique relationship, but the strategies will be basically the same.
- Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you appreciate your relationship.
- Step 2: The state of their health is very important to you. You’ve read through the studies. You know that a higher risk of depression and dementia comes along with neglected hearing loss. You don’t want that for your loved one.
- Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a worry. Your hearing could be damaged by an overly loud TV. Additionally, research shows that elevated noise can cause anxiety, which might impact your relationship. If you have an intruder in your house or you’ve fallen down, your partner may not hear you yelling for help. People relate to others through emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than merely listing facts.
- Step 4: Schedule an appointment to get a hearing test together. After you make the decision schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t delay.
- Step 5: Be prepared for objections. These could arise at any time in the process. This is a person you know well. What will their objections be? Will it be lack of time, or money? Doesn’t notice a problem? They may feel that homemade remedies will be good enough. (You’re aware that “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.)
Be prepared with your responses. Even a bit of rehearsal can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s Worries but they don’t need to match those listed above word-for-word
If your partner is unwilling to talk about their hearing loss, it can be challenging. Developing a plan to deal with potential communication challenges 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 doing this, your relationship will grow stronger and your loved one will take measures to live a longer, healthier life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?