When your mother is always a few seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Most people won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to accept they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may respond. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing problem. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. 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 might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life instead of emphasizing their hearing itself. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go 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
Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how hard this conversation can be. If the conversation begins to go south, wait until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most successful discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties 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. In order to make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing problems may help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to consider 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 deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.