You know it’s time to start talking about hearing aids when your dad stops using 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 detectable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines little by little. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to admit they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversations continue at a natural pace. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If someone refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the best time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. 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.
Be Open And Direct in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you about your hearing”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life rather than talking about their hearing itself. 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, table it until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both individuals cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Provide your support to make the transition as smooth as possible. 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 self-conscious 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 consented to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.