You know it’s time to begin talking over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing often declines little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even realize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.
How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
When planning to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to think about what you will say and how the person may 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. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If somebody refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Pick The Appropriate Time
When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the best 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 could feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.
Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach
It’s beneficial not to be vague and unclear about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the effect of hearing issues on their day-to-day life. 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
Hearing impairment often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you understand how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
When both people cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people may feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.
Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids
So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to create new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those issues seriously.