You know it’s time to begin 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 a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. Even if they do know it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
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. It might take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions continue at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. If somebody refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. If you pick a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, table it until a later time.
Offer Next Steps
When both people work together you will have the most effective discussion about hearing loss. The process of buying hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. Offer your assistance to make the change 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. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help people who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.
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. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.