If your Loved One Has Hearing Loss How Can You Discuss it With Them?

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

If you realize someone you love has hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy subject to bring up because commonly those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. It’s a frustrating issue for everyone and ignoring it isn’t the way to go. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to discuss it. To help get you there, think about these tips.

Do the Research

Outlining the issue is easier if you first understand it. When you get older your chance of suffering from hearing loss increases. About one in every three people have some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

The technical term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears similarly. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anyone noticed.

There are numerous reasons presbycusis happens. The simplest reason for age-related hearing loss is that many years of sound eventually breaks down delicate mechanisms of the ear, especially the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are created which go to the brain. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

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

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Each one can injure the ear and reduce hearing.

Set a Date

What you say to your loved one is important however it’s equally important where you have the talk. Setting something up so you can have a conversation is your best bet. Go with a place that is quiet and guarantees you won’t be interrupted. Bringing literature on the topic can be quite helpful. For example, the doctor may have a brochure that describes presbycusis.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

The response you can expect at first is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a sensitive topic because it is associated with getting old. It’s tough to accept that you are getting older. Older people fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

You will have to tell them why you think they have hearing loss and you will have to be specific.

Mention that you need to keep repeating yourself while having conversations, too. Don’t make it sound like you’re complaining, keep it casual. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

Be ready to sit back and listen once 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. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Talk About the Support System

Hearing loss comes along with a lot of fear and that could be hard to get past. Many people don’t recognize that they have family and friends on their side and feel alone with their problem. Talk to them about others in the family that have had similar experiences and how they discovered ways to live with hearing loss.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most crucial part of this discussion is going to be what to do next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are lots of tools available to help, such as hearing aids. 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. 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 exam and rule out things such as 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.

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