You know it’s time to begin discussing hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing often declines gradually, meaning that many individuals may not even recognize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to consider what you will say and how the person might react. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversations proceed at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids do no good if somebody won’t wear them.
Choose Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Give clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, like having a hard time following television shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, wait until a later time.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful conversations about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people might feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your loved one agreed to consult us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.