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

If you realize someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should you do. Hearing loss frequently goes overlooked by those who suffer from it and that makes it even more difficult to talk about. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the answer. Find a way to discuss it with your loved one now so that their life can be improved. Consider these tips to help get you there.

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

Discussing the issue is much less difficult if you first comprehend it. The risks of hearing loss increase as people grow older. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and more than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is called presbycusis. It usually happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

Persbyscusis happens for many reasons. Basically, many years of listening to sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. These hair cells create electrical signals that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Hearing is impaired and the ear can be damaged by all of these.

Make a Date

Where you choose to talk to your loved one is just as important as what you say. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. To ensure you won’t be disturbed, pick a quiet venue. Bring along any written material you can on the topic too. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Talk About the Whys

Expect this person will be a little defensive. Hearing loss is a sensitive subject because it is associated with aging. Growing older is a difficult thing to accept. Older people struggle to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them how you know they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Keep the discussion casual and don’t make it sound like you are complaining. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Sit Back and Listen

Once you have said what needs to be said, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should do. Ask questions that will motivate this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

The most difficult obstacle is going to be going beyond the fear that comes with hearing loss. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have discovered ways to deal with the same problem.

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next will be the most crucial part of the discussion. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t the end of the world. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. Show them some literature on a computer or brochure detailing the different devices that are available.

Finally, suggest that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Have an ear examination to rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the issue. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.