You know it’s time to begin discussing hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing problems. Hearing often worsens little by little, meaning that many individuals may not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following advice.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to think about what you will say and how the person might react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of talks to accept hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed 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 sensitive 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 participate in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear 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 difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most effective discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to make the right decisions. The process of buying hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Some people may 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 End With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.