You know it’s time to start talking about 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 a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to recognize their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing frequently worsens little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even realize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When preparing to have a discussion 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. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process as opposed to one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. If you pick a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about your hearing”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing problems on their everyday 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?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing impairment often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most successful conversations about hearing loss occur when both people work together to make the right decisions. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. In order to make the journey as smooth as possible, offer to help. 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 problems may help people who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.