You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing issues. Hearing often worsens slowly, meaning that many people might not even recognize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following advice.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing issue. And that’s fine! Let the conversations proceed at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If a person refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Pick 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 may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Give well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having difficulty hearing tv programs asking people to repeat themselves, complaining that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their everyday 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 hard time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both people work together you will have the most effective discussion about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Offer your support to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people might feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has to cope 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 unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.