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. It’s not an easy thing to bring up because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is helped by ignoring this frustrating issue. Your family member’s life will be bettered by the choices you make now so don’t wait to find a way to discuss it. To help get you there, consider these tips.

Learn More so You Can Discuss it Better

You should 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 in every three people suffer from some level of hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 74 and greater than half have it after they reach the age of 75.

The scientific term for this form of ear damage is presbycusis. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. Most likely this person started losing some hearing years before anyone recognized it.

Persbyscusis happens for many reasons. Basically, decades of listening to sound eventually breaks down the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical messages that are produced by these tiny hair cells. The brain gets the message and translates them into what you know as sound. Without those hair cells, hearing is impossible.

The following chronic health problems can also play a role:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

All of these can injure the ear and reduce 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 the best bet. To make sure you won’t be interrupted, choose a quiet spot. If you have any written material on the subject, 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 right away is for the person to be defensive. Because it is associated with aging, loss of hearing can be a delicate topic. Growing older is a hard thing to accept. Senior citizens fight to stay in control of their everyday lives and they may think poor hearing challenges that freedom.

Be ready to provide specifics as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

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. As you understand and put everything into perspective, be patient.

Now it’s Time to Listen

After you have said what you need to, be prepared to sit back and listen. Your family member might share concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. So that you can help them come to a realization about their hearing loss, ask questions that motivate them to keep talking.

Let Them Know They Have a Support System

Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the toughest challenge. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel isolated with their condition. Remind them of how other family members have discovered a way to cope with the same issue.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions

The most important part of this discussion is going to be what should be done next. Hearing loss is not the end of the world so let your loved one know that. There are a lot of available tools including hearing aids which can be helpful. Today’s hearing aids are modern and sleek. They come with features that improve the quality of life and come in all shapes and sizes. If you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the various devices which are now available.

Seeing a doctor is step one. Some hearing loss is temporary. Rule out earwax build up or medication side effects that could be causing your problem by getting an ear exam. A hearing exam can then be set up and you will know for sure.

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