When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Hearing usually worsens slowly, meaning that many people may not even realize 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 admit they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than a single 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 wait until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the best time. If you go with a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Give clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, such as having trouble hearing tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you understand how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing impairment. The process of buying hearing aids can be very overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. So that you can 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 take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
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 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 maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.