When your mother is always several seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually declines slowly, meaning that many individuals may not even recognize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. 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 ensure it hits the right note.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they’re suffering from a hearing problem. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at their own pace. The last thing you want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. If a person refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. If you choose 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 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 Direct Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing problems on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often 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 larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive conversations about hearing loss occur when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of getting hearing aids can be really overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your support to make the change as smooth as possible. 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.
Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.