How to Talk to Parents About Hearing Loss

How to Talk to Parents About Hearing Loss

As vital as it is to discuss the effects of aging with your parents and older loved ones, it can be uncomfortable to confront these natural life phases. Addressing different aspects of health and the need for more assistance and medical interventions can induce fear and inflict a sense of shame. 

Yet ignoring or delaying conversations about hearing loss puts them at risk for a drastic decrease in quality of life.

The Side Effects of Hearing Loss 

According to a study conducted by the National Council on Aging, adults with untreated hearing loss reported the following:

  • Sadness and depression
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Emotional turmoil and insecurity
  • Dementia
  • Less social activity

Researchers note that early detection and treatment improves relationships and raises self-confidence in addition to boosting mental health. 

How to Talk to Parents About Hearing Loss | Ashland ENT in Ashland Ohio

Hearing Loss for Independence and Physical Safety

Of the most common fears of seniors and elderly, losing independence usually tops the list. Maintaining hearing health prolongs people’s ability to live in their own homes safely and gives them greater opportunity to stay emotionally healthy. Hearing knocks at the door, phone calls, alarms, and the television keeps your loved ones connected to their environment, reducing chances of isolation and depression. Those with limited mobility especially benefit from being able to communicate via phone or video chat to stay in touch with family and friends when they can’t get into their cars or walk down the street like they used to.

In 2017, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in three adults 65 and older falls every year. Of these, more than 800,000 are hospitalized due to a fall injury such as a hip fracture or head trauma. Because hearing health also affects balance, regular hearing checks can reduce falls and other accidents.

Hearing Health and Significant Others

Romantic partnerships also profit from consistent hearing health care. Couples often report difficulty connecting with each other when hearing loss begins to negatively affect their conversations. Those who suffer from compromised hearing feel like they’re always being yelled at and may avoid their partners, which leaves the others feeling lonely, forgotten, or ignored. Introducing or updating hearing devices or treating a health problem causing hearing complications can alleviate some relational tension.

“I can hear just fine, thank you very much!”

If your loved ones claim their hearing isn’t poor enough to warrant a hearing test, remind them this is the most common excuse people give. Denial, according to NCOA, is the biggest barrier to hearing aid use, with concerns of cost and appearance following closely behind. Although the subject might be tricky to navigate, keep reminding your loved ones that you’re their advocate, desiring they live as fully and independently as long as they can.

For more information about cost, consult your health insurance provider to find out the scope of coverage offered.

Sometimes pride and embarrassment gets in the way of seeking out the help we need. There’s no shame in hearing loss, but if your parent falls in this category, send them to this hearing loss questionnaire offered by Dr. Stein at Ashland ENT. Sometimes a private self-assessment like this one is all it takes for a person to realize their need for assistance and accept that hearing loss is just one more consequence of living a long and full life! 

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Phone: (419) 289-8919
Hearing Center: (419) 289-1937 

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