You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, 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 little by little. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When preparing to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to think about 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 might take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. If a person won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, like having difficulty hearing tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, complaining that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems effect their daily life rather than talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go 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
For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how hard this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most productive conversations about hearing loss happen when both people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you talk, print out our information. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people may feel self-conscious 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 loved one consented to see us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! 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 develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.