You know it’s time to begin 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 hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to recognize their hearing issues. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines gradually. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
Before having the discussion, take the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to accept hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions continue at their own pace. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If somebody refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and may draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one on one is the best plan.
Be Open And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing issues on their everyday life. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is often linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both people cooperate you will have the most effective conversation about hearing impairment. The process of getting hearing aids can be very overwhelming and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. You can also call us to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Some people may 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 consider 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 deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.