You know it’s time to begin discussing hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Most individuals won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that discussion easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. It may take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing issue. And that’s okay! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before proceeding. If someone won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Choose Your Moment
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any imagined attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their daily life. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful conversations about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the change as smooth as possible. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.