When your mother is always several seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to accept their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing often declines little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person might respond. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to admit to 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 idea before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.
Choose Your Moment
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you concerning your hearing”. Present well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, like having difficulty hearing tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing problems on their day-to-day 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?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, table it until a later time.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive conversations about hearing loss happen when both people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. 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 individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.
Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to create new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.