When your mother is always a few seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Hearing often declines gradually, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When preparing to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person might respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they have a hearing issue. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at their own pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. If somebody won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any imagined attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life instead of talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Offer your support to make the change as smooth as you can. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your loved one consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.