Woman and man cuddling on a park bench after getting hearing aids to improve their relationship.

Want to show how much you care? Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you. That calls for, of course, the ability to hear.

Studies reveal millions of individuals would benefit from wearing hearing aids because one out of three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss. But only 30% of those individuals actually wear hearing aids, regrettably.

Diminishing hearing, depression, higher dementia rates, and stressed relationships are some outcomes of this inaction. Many people coping with hearing loss simply suffer in silence.

But it’s almost springtime. Spring should be a time when we take pleasure in blossoming flowers, emerging leaves, starting new things, and growing closer to loved ones. Isn’t it time to renew your relationship by speaking openly about hearing loss?

It’s Necessary to Have “The Talk”

Studies have revealed that an individual with untreated hearing loss is 2.4 times more likely to experience dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A cascade effect that eventually affects the entire brain can be initiated when there’s diminished activity in the region of your brain used for hearing. This is called “brain atrophy” by doctors. It’s an example of the “use it or lose it” concept at work.

Depression rates among people with hearing loss are almost twice that of someone with healthy hearing. Research reveals that as a person’s hearing loss gets worse, they often become stressed and agitated. The person may begin to seclude themselves from friends and family. They’re likely to stop involving themselves in the activities they once enjoyed as they sink deeper into a state of depression.

This, in turn, can lead to relationship strain amongst spouses, but also between parent and child, close friends, and other people in this individual’s life.

Solving The Mystery

Your loved one may not feel that they can talk to you about their hearing problems. Fear or embarrassment might be an issue for them. They might be in denial. You may need to do some detective work to decide when it’s time to initiate the conversation.

Because it’s impossible for you to directly know how impaired your spouse’s hearing loss is, you may need to rely on some of the following indicators:

  • Not hearing vital sounds, like the doorbell, dryer buzzer, or someone calling their name
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Recurring misunderstandings
  • Avoiding busy places
  • New levels of anxiety in social settings
  • Watching TV with the volume really high
  • School, hobbies, and work are suddenly becoming harder
  • Complaining about ringing, humming, static, or other sounds that you can’t hear

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

The Hearing Loss Talk – Here’s How

Having this discussion may not be easy. You might get the brush off or even a more defensive reaction from a spouse in denial. That’s why approaching hearing loss in the proper way is so significant. You may need to modify your language based on your individual relationship, but the steps will be more or less the same.

Step 1: Tell them you love them unconditionally and appreciate your relationship.

Step 2: You are worried about their health. You’ve gone over the studies. You’re aware of the increased dementia risk and depression that accompany untreated hearing loss. You don’t want your loved one to go through that.

Step 3: Your own health and safety are also a concern. An excessively loud TV could harm your hearing. Relationships can also be effected by the anxiety loud sounds can cause, according to some studies. If somebody has broken into your home, or you yell for help, your loved one may not hear you.

People engage with others by using emotion. If you can paint an emotional picture of what might happen, it’s more impactful than just listing facts.

Step 4: Come to an understanding that it’s time for a hearing test. Do it right away after deciding. Don’t wait.

Step 5: Be prepared for your loved ones to have some objections. These might happen anytime during the process. This is someone you know well. What will their objections be? Costs? Time? Are they convinced it’s no big deal? Do they think they can utilize home remedies? You understand “natural hearing loss cures” don’t really work and could cause more harm than good.

Be ready with your answers. You could even practice them in the mirror. They don’t have to be those listed above word-for-word, but they should speak to your loved one’s concerns.

Grow Your Relationship

If your significant other is unwilling to talk, it can be a difficult situation. But by having this discussion, you’ll grow closer and get your loved one the help they need to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. Growing closer – isn’t that what love is all about?

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