How Can You Approach a Loved One About Their Hearing Loss?

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

If you discover someone you love has hearing loss what should you do. Usually, people who suffer from slow hearing loss don’t recognize it so that makes it a difficult subject to approach. Ignoring this difficult problem is not helpful for anyone involved. Your family member’s life will be enhanced by the things you do now so don’t wait to find a way to talk about it. To help get you there, think about these suggestions.

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

You should recognize the problem first before you are able to clarify it. As people grow older, the chances of hearing loss increase for them. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half suffer from it after they reach the age of 75.

This form of ear damage is called presbycusis. It generally occurs in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Chances are this person began losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis happens. The most basic reason for age-related hearing loss is that years of sound takes its toll on the delicate mechanisms of the ear, particularly the little hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are created by these little hair cells. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

The impact of chronic illnesses like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

Each one can harm the ear and reduce hearing.

Make a Date

The place where you choose to have a talk with your loved one is equally as important as what you say. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. To guarantee you won’t be disturbed, pick a quiet spot. If you have any literature on the subject matter, you should bring that also. For instance, the doctor may have a brochure that clarifies presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Because it is related to aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive matter. Getting older is a tough thing to accept. The elderly fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be ready to offer particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

They will have to be reminded how often they say “what did you say?” when people talk to them. 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 could have other concern but doesn’t know what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

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

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this conversation 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 plenty of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. Much more sleek and modern hearing aids are now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. 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. Some hearing loss is temporary. Have an ear examination and rule out things like ear wax build up and medication that could be causing the issue. After that the doctor can schedule a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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.