When your mother is always several seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to accept their troubles can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to consider what you will say and how the person may react. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing problem. And that’s fine! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. The last thing you want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. If a person won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. 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 Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life rather than talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation begins to go south, wait until a different time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both people work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your help to make the change as smooth as possible. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Some people may feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your loved one decided to consult us and get hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to create new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.