It’s Difficult to Know What to do About A Loved One With Hearing Loss

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

What is the best thing you can do when you recognize that someone you love is suffering from hearing loss? Normally, people who suffer from gradual hearing loss don’t recognize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. It’s a frustrating problem for the whole family and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with finding a way to discuss it. Consider these strategies to help get you there.

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

You should comprehend the problem first before you are able to clarify it. When you get older your risk of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one person out of every three suffer from some amount of hearing loss by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

The scientific term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. It generally occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person began losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

Persbyscusis occurs for numerous reasons. The most basic explanation for age-related hearing loss is that decades of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the little hair cells. These hair cells produce electrical messages that go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Hearing is not possible without those little hairs.

Chronic illnesses can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

Each one can injure the ear and impair the hearing.

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you choose to say it. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. You don’t want to be interrupted so decide on a quiet spot. If you have any literature on the topic, you should bring that also. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can obtain from a doctor, as an example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is related to aging, loss of hearing can be a delicate topic. It’s hard to accept that you are growing older. The elderly struggle to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be prepared to offer specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Discuss that you need to keep repeating yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

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. To help them come to a realization concerning their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

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

Bring Solutions

The most important part of this talk is going to be what should be done next. Let your loved one know that hearing loss is not the end of the world. There are a lot of available tools such as hearing aids which can be helpful. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are currently available. They come in many sizes and shapes and with features that improve the quality of life. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices which are now available.

Finally, recommend that the first place to begin is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss lasts forever. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem 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.