You know it’s time to begin talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Most people won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it declines gradually. And even if they are cognizant 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 productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot of time to think about what you will say and how the person might react. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversations continue at a natural pace. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Be Open 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”. Present clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, such as having trouble hearing tv programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their daily life rather than focusing on their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve noticed 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, particularly 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. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, table it until a different time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both people cooperate you will have the most successful discussion about hearing loss. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer assistance. 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 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 agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.