You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits using the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have detectable hearing loss, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing often worsens little by little, meaning that many people might not even recognize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.
How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation
Before having the conversation, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. Your loved one might take weeks or months of talks to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s fine! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. The last thing you want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are ready. If a person refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one talk 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
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing issues on their everyday life. 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 deal with age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you understand how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals cooperate you will have the most effective conversation about hearing impairment. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be very daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us 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 loved one consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.