When your mother is always several seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing issues. Hearing frequently declines slowly, meaning that many people might not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to one conversation. It may take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. The last thing you 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 refuses to wear them.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you pick 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 conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.
Be Open And Direct 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 about your hearing”. Present clear examples of symptoms you’ve observed, like having difficulty hearing tv shows asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that others mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their everyday life. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and deal with age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is often associated with 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 where he or she is coming from. Let them know that you understand how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive discussions about hearing loss happen when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be very overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help people who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your loved one consented to see us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.