You know it’s time to start discussing hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing issues. Hearing frequently declines gradually, meaning that many people may not even realize 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 having them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
Before having the conversation, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the conversations continue at a natural pace. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If a person won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Right Time
When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the best time. If you go with a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems 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 take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Open And Straightforward in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life rather than talking about their hearing itself. 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 challenges in particular hearing loss is often linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. If the conversation starts to go south, table it until a different time.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most productive conversations about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. In order to make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing problems might help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.
Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.