You know it’s time to begin talking about hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to accept their troubles can be another matter altogether. Most people won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines little by little. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
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 react. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to accept hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the conversations continue at their own pace. One thing you don’t want to do is force 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.
Find Your Moment
Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. To ensure 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
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Emphasize situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about 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 hard time hearing them?”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Provide Help With Further Action
The most productive discussions about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing issues may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.
Recognize 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. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. 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. Take seriously any issues your family member might have with their new hearing aids.