You know it’s time to begin discussing 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 a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually declines slowly, meaning that many individuals may not even realize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
When preparing to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot of time to consider what you will say and how the person might react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It might take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If someone refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the best time. If you pick a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems 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 participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you concerning your hearing”. Present well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve noticed, like having trouble hearing tv shows asking people to repeat themselves, complaining that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life instead of emphasizing 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 difficult time hearing them?”.
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 attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. 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 productive conversations about hearing loss take place 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 buying hearing aids. Offer your support to make the change as smooth as you can. Before you talk, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing problems may help people who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your loved one decided to see 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 maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.