You know it’s time to start discussing hearing aids when your dad quits using the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens little by little. Even if they do recognize it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. It may take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. The last thing you want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you pick 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 make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Open And Direct in Your Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day to day life rather than emphasizing 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 impairment often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the conversation starts to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
The most effective conversations about hearing loss occur when both people work together to make the right decisions. The process of getting hearing aids can be very overwhelming and that might be one reason why they are so hesitant. 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 accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing problems may help people who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop 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 forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.