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

If you discover someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to bring up because often those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t recognize it. Ignoring this frustrating problem is not helpful for anyone involved. The things you do now will better the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it begins with finding a way to talk about it. Consider these suggestions to help get you there.

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

You need to recognize the problem first if you want to be able to clarify it. When you grow older your chance of suffering from hearing loss raises. About one person out of every three suffer from some level of hearing reduction by the time they are 74 and greater than half have it after the age of 75.

The medical term for this type of ear damage is presbycusis. The effect is gradual and usually affects both ears equally. This hearing loss most likely started years before it was detected.

There are lots of reasons presbycusis occurs. To put it simply, decades of hearing sound eventually breaks down the delicate mechanism of the inner ear, specifically the tiny hair cells. Electrical signals are produced which go to the brain. The brain receives the signals and translates them into what you know as sound. Those hairs are an essential element of hearing.

Chronic health problems can play a role, as well, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

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

Set a Date

It’s not only important what you say but also where you decide to say it. Setting something up so you can have a talk is the best bet. You don’t want to be disturbed so pick a private location. If you have any written material on the subject matter, you should also bring that. Presbycusis may be explained in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, as an example.

Talk About the Whys

The response you can expect right away is for the person to be defensive. Loss of hearing is a delicate topic because it is associated with aging. Getting older is a hard thing to accept. The elderly fight to stay in control of their daily lives and they might believe 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.

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

Be Prepared to Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member may share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what they should do. To help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions which motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

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

Come Armed With Solutions

What to do next is going to be the most crucial part of the conversation. Let your loved one know that hearing loss isn’t 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 now available. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in many shapes and sizes. If possible bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices that are now available.

Going to the doctor is step one. Some hearing loss goes away. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that might be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.