When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Most people won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines little by little. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to accept they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to consider what you will say and how the person might react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s fine! 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. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.
Choose Your Moment
When your loved one is alone and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one on one is the best plan.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, such as having difficulty following television programs asking people to repeat themselves, complaining that others mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem might be the reason for that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most effective discussions about hearing loss occur when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your support to make the transition as smooth as possible. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed 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 explore hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. Adjusting 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 unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.