Improving Communication with Your Family

Improving Communication with Your Family

Good communication is the key to any relationship. When it comes to family, it’s all too easy to take this for granted. Often people feel that they can take family for granted because in many instances they aren’t going away. However, this is a serious mistake. It’s important to be precious and loving in a family setting. Family is essential to development due to the intimacy level. For those of us with children, healthy communication becomes the basis for how they learn to interact with the world and form future relationships.

What is your family communication style? 

Do you take time to discuss problems and let each other know how much you mean to each other regularly? Do you avoid difficult issues, burying them till they come out sideways? Do you simply nod to each other as you pass in the hall, rarely connecting? The precedent you set now for your family will set the stage for the rest of your lives. It’s not just the children who benefit from the intentional and thoughtful connections but the entire family.

Hearing Loss in the Family

While hearing loss is commonly associated with older adults, hearing loss can occur at any age. If you or an older role model is suffering from hearing loss, they might not even know it. However, you all may be quite aware of your family member’s hearing loss as they ask for you to repeat themselves constantly and insist on turning the TV to ridiculously loud levels. It’s hard not to take a hearing loss personally. It may feel that someone in your family is purposely ignoring you or not paying attention to what you are trying to say. However, they can’t help their hearing loss if they aren’t aware of it.

Talking to a Family Member about Hearing Loss

Many people live with hearing loss for years without knowing it because it often develops slowly. It may start as the loss of high frequencies such as the chirping of birds, the ringing of the phone, the microwave beeping, or a missed doorbell. With this also is the loss of certain higher-pitched consonants such as “f”,”s”, and “h”. This can make the following conversation a challenge as they are unconsciously trying to fill in these blanks as they listen to you talk. If you’ve noticed that they seem irritable or confused while you are speaking with them it’s hard to not take it personally but understand it’s an issue that requires treatment. Think of it as an act of love to suggest that they have their hearing tested, even if they may be defensive.

Hearing Loss and Denial

Many people consider admitting they have a hearing loss as an admittance of aging or the stigma of a disability. However, what truly disables people is not taking action around hearing loss. When untreated, hearing loss can contribute to rifts in relationships. It is affecting yours. In addition, unaddressed hearing loss can cause depression, anxiety, loneliness, cognitive decline and increase your risk of falls and accidents which lead to hospitalization. It’s important to speak to your loved one if you suspect they have a hearing loss before it can impact your relationship in the long run. 

Approaching a Family Member About Hearing Issues

We only have one precious life with our family, so it’s important to make the most of the moment. However, if you aim to speak to a family member about hearing loss, make sure to do it lovingly. Yelling at them in a public moment where they are struggling to hear won’t help and it can make some people more stubborn against treatment. Don’t cause them to dig their feet in on the matter. Choose a quiet place to talk about hearing loss with them. Instead of using “you” statements which can feel accusatory, try talking about how their hearing loss is affecting you. Use “I” statements instead: “I feel as if you aren’t listening to me, but I think it’s a hearing loss”.

Schedule a Hearing Exam

Suggest a hearing exam as soon as possible. It’s important to point out that your concerns may be nothing but no matter our age it’s always safer to know than not. Go with them if that will help them feel more supported. Perhaps you could take a test yourself? Build healthy family dynamics and communication with healthy hearing. Schedule an appointment today.