When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing issues. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. Even if they do recognize it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Tell 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 the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids do no good if somebody won’t wear them.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you choose 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 engage in the conversation.
Be Open And Direct in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
For older adults who are weaker and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both individuals work together you will have the most effective discussion about hearing loss. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we accept 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 Stop With Hearing Aids
So your loved one decided to consult us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.