When your mother is always several seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Hearing usually declines gradually, meaning that many people might not even recognize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person might respond. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to accept hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If someone won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. If you go with a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they might 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 Clear And Direct in Your Approach
Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following 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 don’t seem to go 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
Hearing impairment often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a later time.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both individuals cooperate you will have the most successful conversation about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Offer your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. 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 may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.
Realize 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 end there. Adapting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.