You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to accept their hearing problems. Hearing frequently declines little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
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 loss, you have a lot of time to think about what you will say and how the person may respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. It may take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. And that’s okay! Let the conversations proceed at their own pace. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.
Find Your Moment
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and may draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. 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.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than emphasizing 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?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard 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 effective conversation about hearing impairment. 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. Before you talk, print out our information. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might 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 talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.