You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops using 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 half of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to recognize their troubles can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. Even if they do know it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right tone.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. If someone refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
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 loss 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 participate in the conversation.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Emphasize circumstances 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, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their daily life. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing impairment often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing 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. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both individuals cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing impairment. The process of getting hearing aids can be really daunting and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. Offer your assistance to make the change as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might 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 talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to forget. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.