When your mother is always several seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Most people won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to admit they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have a lot of time to think about what you will say and how the person may react. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing problem. And that’s fine! Let the discussions continue at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.
Pick The Right Time
Decide on a time when your loved one is calm and alone. If you choose 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. 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.
Take a Clear And Direct Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Emphasize situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful conversations about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to take the next steps. The process of buying hearing aids can be very daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, assistance. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Some people might feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.