You know it’s time to start 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. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to accept their troubles can be another matter altogether. Most people won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. Even if they do know it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. It may take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing problem. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone won’t wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Present clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, such as having difficulty hearing tv shows 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 everyday life. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with 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. Let them know that you recognize 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 take place when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the transition as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed 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 look into hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.