When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing problems. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s okay! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one on one is the best plan.
Be Open And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Give well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having trouble following television programs asking people to repeat what they said, complaining that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing issues on their daily 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
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is often linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. 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 discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, wait until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most productive discussions about hearing loss take place when both people work together to make the right decisions. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be really daunting and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people might feel embarrassed 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 agreed to see us and get 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 process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.