When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing issues. Most people won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it worsens little by little. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right tone.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person may respond. When getting ready, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to admit to hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If somebody refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. If you choose a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one conversation 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
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing problems effect their day-to-day life rather than talking about their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are more frail and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most successful conversations about hearing loss take place when both people work together to take the next steps. 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. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we take 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.
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. 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. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.