Q.  My husband’s hearing is deteriorating and yet he refuses to even be evaluated for a hearing aid. His point seems to be, “I can hear as much as I want or need to hear.” Is there anything I can tell him to encourage him to at least explore assistive hearing devices?

A. From my perspective, that is both an unfortunate situation and an unhelpful point of view. You might ask him if he is familiar with the law of atrophy: Use it or lose it. As you may know, any brain-mind faculty or skill that is unexercised on a regular basis soon begins to fade. In the case of hearing that can be trigger a deleterious loop. As his hearing deteriorates, he likely will feel increasingly isolated. In addition, his brain will be receiving less challenging stimulation. Over time, brain-mind skills can consequently begin to also deteriorate. Dementia can progress quite rapidly when the brain does not “hear” and stay stimulated. I doubt he would consciously choose dementia. My position is: do whatever you can to retard the onset of dementia. It impacts your level of health, potential longevity, and all your relationships.

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