Hear in Edmonton - Edmonton, Alberta

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

If you realize someone you love is suffering from hearing loss what should be done. It’s not an easy thing to talk about because frequently those who are gradually losing their hearing don’t realize it. No one is helped by ignoring this frustrating issue. The things you do now will enhance the lives of your parent, spouse, sibling or friend and it starts with discovering a way to discuss it. Think about these guidelines to help get you there.

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

First and foremost, you should understand what is taking place yourself so you can explain it. The chances of hearing loss increase as people get older. About one person out of every three suffer from some degree 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.

Presbycusis is the medical name for this form of ear damage. It generally happens in both ears equally, and the effect is gradual. It’s likely that this person started losing some hearing years before anybody recognized it.

Persbyscusis happens for several reasons. Basically, many years of hearing sound takes its toll on the fragile mechanism of the inner ear, especially the tiny hair cells. The brain gets electrical signals that are produced by these little hair cells. What you know as sound is actually a signal that is received and then translated by the brain. Without those hair cells, hearing is not possible.

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

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

Each one can harm the ear and impair the hearing.

Make a Date

Where you choose to have a talk with your loved one is just as important as what you say. The best choice is to schedule something so the two of you can get together and have a talk. It’s important not to be disturbed so pick a private place. Bring with you any written material you can on the topic too. Presbycusis might be discussed in a brochure that you can get from a doctor, for example.

Let’s Discuss the Whys

Expect this person to be a little defensive. Because it is associated with aging, hearing loss can be a sensitive subject. It’s difficult to accept that you are growing older. Poor hearing might challenge the elderly’s idea that they are in control of their daily lives.

Be prepared to provide particulars as to how you know they have some hearing problems.

Remind them how often they ask you and others to repeat themselves. Don’t make it seem like you’re complaining, keep it casual. Be patient and understanding as you put everything into perspective.

Sit Back and Listen

Be prepared to sit back and listen once you have said what needs to be said. Your family member might express concerns or say they have noticed some changes but were unsure what to do. Ask questions that can encourage this person to continue talking about their experience to help make it real to them.

Talk About the Support System

Getting past the fear that comes with hearing loss is going to be the biggest obstacle. Many people don’t recognize that they have friends and family on their side and feel alone with their problem. Remind them of how other family members have found a way to cope with the same problem.

Bring Solutions

The most important 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 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 you can bring a tablet, use a computer or have some brochures that show the different devices that are now available.

Lastly, recommend that the first place to start is at the doctor’s office. Not all hearing loss is permanent. Get an ear examination to rule out things such as ear wax build up and medication that might be causing the issue. Then the doctor can set up a hearing test, and you can go from there.

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