You know it’s time to begin talking about hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Most people won’t even detect 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. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
Before having the conversation, take the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to one conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversations proceed at a natural pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If a person won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Pick a time when your loved one is calm and alone. If you go with 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. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having difficulty following television programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the impact of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt 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 difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful discussions about hearing loss happen when both people work together to take the next steps. The process of getting hearing aids can be really daunting and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. Offer your assistance to make the change as smooth as possible. 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 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 compelling and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.