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

A person you love has hearing loss, now what should you do? Usually, people who suffer from slow loss of hearing don’t recognize it so that makes it a difficult subject to talk about. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. Consider these guidelines to help get you there.

Do the Research

You need to comprehend the issue first if you want to be able to clarify it. When you grow older your chance of being affected by hearing loss raises. About one in every three people suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and more than half suffer from it after the age of 75.

This type of ear damage is called presbycusis. It usually occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person started losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

Persbyscusis occurs for many reasons. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Hearing is impossible 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 injured by all of these.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. The best option is to schedule something so you both can get together and have a talk. Select a venue that is quiet and ensures you won’t be disturbed. Bringing written material on the topic can be very helpful. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive matter. Getting older is a hard thing to acknowledge. Poor hearing may challenge the elderly’s belief that they are in control of their day-to-day 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 discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are stressing. Be patient and sympathetic as you put everything into perspective.

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen after you have said what you need to say. Your family member might have noticed some changes and could have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the greatest challenge. Many people feel on their own with their problem and don’t recognize they have family and friends who will be there for them. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same problem.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this discussion 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.

Finally, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Get an ear exam and rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that may be causing the problem. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.