You know it’s time to begin talking about hearing aids when your dad quits talking on 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 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to recognize their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing often worsens little by little, meaning that many people might not even realize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
Before having the discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the discussions 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 prepared. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone won’t wear them.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure 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 Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing impairment often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful discussions about hearing loss take place when both people work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. 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 may feel embarrassed 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 persuasive and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.