When your mother is always a few seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to acknowledge their troubles can be another matter altogether. Hearing often worsens little by little, meaning that many people might not even recognize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not a single discussion. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions continue at a natural pace. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. If a person won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Decide on a time when your loved one is calm and alone. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Offer clear examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having difficulty hearing tv programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. 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 hard time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is often linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most successful conversations about hearing loss take place when both people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Provide your support to make the change as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.