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 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 individuals over 75, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing frequently worsens gradually, meaning that many people may not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation 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 the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. It may take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. 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’re ready. If a person won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
Pick a time when your loved one is calm and by themselves. If you choose a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they could feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about your hearing”. Mention circumstances 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, talk about the impact of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the discussion begins to go south, wait until a later time.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to take the next steps. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that may be one reason why they are so reluctant. Offer your support 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 take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were compelling 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 takes some time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to forget. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.