You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to accept their difficulties can be another matter entirely. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines little by little. Even if they do know it, admitting that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following guidance can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot 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. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the discussions continue at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.
Find Your Moment
Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Present clear examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, like having difficulty following tv shows asking people to repeat themselves, complaining that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their daily life rather than talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You aren’t going 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 loss frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. 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 people work together you will have the most successful conversation about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Offer your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help people who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.