You know it’s time to start talking about hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Hearing often declines little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize 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 having them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the conversation have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.
Find Your Moment
Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. If you go with a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they could feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their daily life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you understand how difficult this discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, wait until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful discussions about hearing loss take place when both people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Offer your help to make the transition as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Some people may feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has to deal 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 concerns seriously.