When your mother is always a few seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to acknowledge their troubles can be another matter entirely. Most individuals won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it worsens little by little. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.
How to Explain to 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 lots 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 discussion. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing problem. And that’s okay! Let the discussions continue at a natural pace. TOne thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If a person refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and may draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing issues on their daily 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?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.
Offer Next Steps
When both people work together you will have the most successful discussion about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be very overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the transition as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing problems might help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your loved one agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.