You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing issues. Most people won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. 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 advice.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
When preparing to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to consider 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 discussion. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If somebody refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived 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.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their daily life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with 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 linked to a broader 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 conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most effective discussions about hearing loss occur when both people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Provide your help to make the change as smooth as possible. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also call us to see if we take 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 consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.