You know it’s time to start talking about hearing aids when your dad stops 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 noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, 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 declines gradually. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When preparing to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person might react. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone won’t wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Pick 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 problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. 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 Open And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you concerning your hearing”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, like having trouble hearing television programs asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their daily 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you understand how hard 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 occur when both people work together to take the next steps. 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 transition 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 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 decided to consult us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. 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 dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.