You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a hard 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 individuals over 75, getting them to accept their troubles can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. The following advice 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
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person may react. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If someone refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is alone 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 problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach
Now is not 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”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is often linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a different time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both individuals work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so hesitant. In order to make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us 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.
Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.