Cropped shot of two unrecognizable people holding hands discussing hearing loss with compassion.

It’s something lots of people suffer with, but most don’t want to talk about – hearing loss and its impact on personal relationships. Both partners can feel frustrated by the misunderstandings that are caused by hearing loss.
This is the perfect time for you to express your love and appreciation for your loved one with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. A wonderful way to do this is to talk to your loved one about your hearing loss.

Having “the talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with neglected hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to develop dementia, and that includes Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that will inevitably impact the whole brain will be initiated when the region of your brain responsible for hearing becomes less engaged. Doctors call this brain atrophy. It’s the “use it or lose it” idea in action.

Depression rates amongst people with hearing loss are nearly double that of a person who has healthy hearing. Research shows that as a person’s hearing loss progresses, they often become anxious and agitated. The person may start to separate themselves from family and friends. As they fall deeper into sadness, people with hearing loss are likely to avoid participating in the activities they once enjoyed.

Relationships between family, friends, and others then become tense. It’s essential to be patient and work together to determine solutions to communication difficulties.

Mystery solved

Your loved one may not be ready to inform you they’re experiencing hearing loss. They might be afraid or ashamed. They could be in denial. Deciding when to have the conversation may take a bit of detective work.

Since you can’t hear what your spouse or parent hears, you’ll need to depend on outward cues, like:

  • Complaining about buzzing, humming, static, or other noises that you can’t hear
  • Repeated misunderstandings
  • Avoiding busy places
  • School, work, and hobbies are starting to become difficult
  • Watching television with the volume very high
  • Agitation or anxiety in social settings that you haven’t previously observed
  • Failing to hear alerts, doorbells, and other significant sounds
  • Avoiding conversations

Watch for these common symptoms and plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with your loved one.

How to talk about hearing loss

Having this conversation may not be easy. A loved one could become defensive and brush it off if they’re in denial. That’s why it’s essential to discuss hearing loss in a sensitive and appropriate way. The steps will be basically the same but possibly with some minor modifications based on your particular relationship situation.

  • Step 1: Tell them how much you love them unconditionally and how much you value your relationship.
  • Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve seen the research. You’re aware that untreated hearing loss can result in a higher chance of dementia and depression. You don’t want your loved one to experience that.
  • Step 3: Your own safety and health are also a concern. Your hearing could be harmed by an excessively loud TV. Also, your relationship can be affected, as studies have shown that overly loud noise can cause anxiety. Your loved one may not hear you yelling for help if you’ve fallen or somebody’s broken into the house. Emotion is a strong way to connect with others. If you can paint an emotional picture of the what-ifs, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.
  • Step 4: Decide together to make an appointment to get a hearing exam. Do it immediately after making the decision. Don’t wait.
  • Step 5: There may be some objections so be ready. These could arise at any time in the process. You know this person. What kind of objections will they have? Money? Time? Doesn’t see a problem? They might feel that home remedies will be just fine. (“Natural hearing loss remedies” are not effective and can even be harmful.)

Have your answers prepared ahead of time. Even a bit of practice can’t hurt. These answers need to address your loved one’s concerns but they don’t have to match those listed above word-for-word

Relationship growth

Talking about hearing loss isn’t easy if your significant other isn’t willing to talk about it. Developing a plan to tackle potential communication problems and the effect hearing loss can have on your relationship will help both partners have confidence that their worries will be heard and understood. By having this talk, you’ll grow closer and get your partner the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more rewarding life. Growing together – isn’t that what love is all about?

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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.
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