You know it’s time to start talking about hearing aids when your dad stops using the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to accept their troubles can be another matter entirely. Hearing often worsens slowly, meaning that many people may not even realize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may respond. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s fine! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.
Find Your Moment
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. 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
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Give clear examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having difficulty following tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life instead of emphasizing their hearing itself. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how hard 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 successful conversation about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as possible. 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 might help people who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your loved one consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.