You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits using the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing problems. Hearing frequently declines gradually, 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 accept they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may respond. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversations proceed at their own pace. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you choose a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing problems on their daily life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how hard this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most effective conversations about hearing loss happen when both parties work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. In order to make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we take 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. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.