It’s a common first reaction — denial. Surely, my loved one’s hearing loss isn’t as bad as it seems. She’s too young to need a hearing aid.
Maybe it’s become a joke between the two of you. Your loved one always asks you to speak up. It’s just a game. You laugh about it. But this game is getting old fast. You’re starting to think that maybe your spouse, brother or parent is either ignoring you or really is having trouble hearing.
It’s time to be supportive and make sure your loved one gets the care they need to continue to live a happy, healthy, active lifestyle well into the senior years.
Here are 4 common signs someone you know needs a hearing aid.
1. She Seems Exhausted in Public
You may think it’s just a sign of getting older. Your loved one just doesn’t have as much energy as they once did. When she says she just doesn’t feel like going out tonight, you try to understand.
Then she starts missing meetings with a hobby group, organization or club that she’s always enjoyed, and you start to realize something may be wrong. Outings seem to sap your loved one’s energy. This is especially true if they are around a lot of people having various conversations or there’s a lot of background noise.
People who are struggling to hear put excess energy toward understanding those around them. They often have to pull this energy from other functions in the brain like memory, talking and moving.
Using this extra brain power doesn’t strengthen the brain; it just makes it tired. Your loved one will often seem shut down in social settings and fatigued.
Don’t assume you know what she’s experiencing. It could be a combination of things. But ask questions. Get to the root cause and suggest that she get a hearing test.
2. He Likes the TV LOUD
This is often one of the first signs that you might notice in another person. They can’t seem to watch TV or play music at a normal volume.
You walk into the room, and it sounds like you’ve just walked into a theater. You suddenly get the urge to make some popcorn, except you find he’s just watching a reality show, movie or documentary at a volume that almost makes you cringe. You can even hear it from outside.
When you suggest that the TV is too loud, he may laugh and turn it down. Then you notice that he just switched on the captions.
He may not want to admit that he really can’t hear the TV. If this is happening a lot, it may be time for you to suggest a hearing test.
3. She Says “What?”… a Lot
If you’re in a really loud setting like a concert or theater or she’s really focused on a movie, then it may be nothing. If it’s happening more often than that, pay attention.
Similarly, take notice if she seems to have a lot of trouble hearing when she’s on the phone.
Is she complaining about people mumbling or low-talking and constantly? Is she asking people to repeat? If so, it’s time to have that loving conversation about how much better life is with hearing aids.
4. You’re Feeling a Rift in the Relationship
Researchers have found that couples in which one has hearing loss have around 50% more arguments. These arguments may center around TV volume, misunderstandings or what one says the other person did or didn’t say.
Overall, there’s just more tension in a household when someone can’t hear. They get frustrated about their hearing loss. Others get frustrated when they won’t get help. This lead to lots of hurt feelings and decisions to spend more time apart or alone.
Many couples don’t realize that hearing loss is the cause, and this can damage their relationship irreparably. Even moderate hearing loss can strain a relationship, so it pays to get it checked out.
The simple act of getting a hearing test can give you a completely new perspective on your relationship, whether we’re talking about a spouse, sister or dear friend. Talk to your loved one about getting a hearing test.
People who discover they need hearing aids and wear them say they’d never go back. In fact, they regret they waited so long to get them in the first place. They feel healthier, happier and more active.
It’s not an easy conversation to have. But the difficulty of this discussion is worth it when your loved one finally gets the help they need to hear.