You know it’s time to begin talking over hearing aids when your dad stops using the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing problems. Hearing often worsens 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 getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more productive, observe the following guidance.
How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids
View it as a Process, Not One Conversation
Before having the discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single discussion. It may take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before going ahead. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you choose a time when other people are around you may 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 ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.
Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach
It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing problems on their daily life. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.
Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns
Hearing loss often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
When both people work together you will have the most successful discussion about hearing loss. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Provide your support 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 issues might help people who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.
Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.