You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits using the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing frequently declines slowly, meaning that many people might not even recognize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person might respond. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing issue. And that’s okay! Let the conversations proceed at a natural pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If someone won’t 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 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. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. 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 hard 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. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, wait until a later time.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive conversations about hearing loss happen when both parties work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.