You know it’s time to start discussing hearing aids when your dad stops using the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Hearing frequently declines gradually, meaning that many people may not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to accept 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
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
Before having the conversation, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to accept hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the conversation have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. If somebody refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Pick a time when your loved one is calm and by themselves. If you go with a time when other people are around you may 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 ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one on one is the best idea.
Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Provide clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, such as having difficulty following tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems effect their daily life instead of emphasizing their hearing itself. 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 frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive discussions about hearing loss take place when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of buying hearing aids can be really daunting and that may be one reason why they are so reluctant. Offer your assistance to make the transition as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing problems might help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your loved one consented to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.