You know it’s time to start talking about 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. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to recognize their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually worsens little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even realize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant 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 conversation to make sure it hits the right note.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to consider what you will say and how the person may react. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process as opposed to one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone won’t wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you concerning your hearing”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. The process of buying hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the change as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. 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 talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adapting 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 period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.