You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits using the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually worsens gradually, meaning that many individuals may not even realize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, admitting that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
Before having the discussion, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. If you go with a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they could feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Give well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having trouble following television shows asking people to repeat what they said, complaining that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing issues on their everyday life. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults facing 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 difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals work together you will have the most successful conversation about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might 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 compelling and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.