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 tough to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to acknowledge their challenges can be another matter altogether. Most people won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. 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 successful, observe the following advice.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s fine! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. If you pick a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To make sure 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 unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about your hearing”. Give clear examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having a hard time hearing tv shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you understand how hard this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both people work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. So that you can make the journey as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. 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 period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.