When your mother is always several seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of people over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Hearing frequently declines little by little, meaning that many people may not even recognize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, 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 one discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to accept hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the conversations continue at their own pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is very comfortable with the idea before proceeding. After all, hearing aids do no good if somebody refuses to wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. If you go with a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they may 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 take part in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life instead of talking about their hearing itself. 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to make the right decisions. The process of buying hearing aids can be really daunting and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your support to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people may feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your loved one decided 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 to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.