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 tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to recognize their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing often declines gradually, meaning that many individuals may not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process
Before having the discussion, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the discussions continue at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is alone and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.
Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous 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 hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their daily life rather than talking about their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, attempt to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both individuals work together you will have the most successful conversation about hearing impairment. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be very daunting and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. 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 agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes 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. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.