You know it’s time to begin talking over hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to recognize their troubles can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually worsens gradually, meaning that many people might not even recognize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following guidance 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
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to consider what you will say and how the person might respond. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. It might take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing problem. And that’s fine! Let the conversations continue at their own pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is very comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If somebody refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you pick a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss 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 participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about your hearing”. Present well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having difficulty following television programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing issues on their daily life. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are more frail and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most productive discussions about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to take the next steps. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that may be one reason why they are so reluctant. 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 accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.