When your mother is always a few 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 talk about hearing aids. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to recognize their hearing issues. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
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 the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of talks to acknowledge hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. The last thing you want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. If someone refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Choose Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves 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 may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Be Open And Direct in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Give well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, like having a hard time following tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, complaining that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing issues on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted 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. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive conversations about hearing loss occur when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of buying hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you talk, print out our information. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people may feel self-conscious 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 loved one consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to create new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.