Woman showing her mother information about hearing loss and hearing aids in the kitchen.

You know it’s time to begin discussing hearing aids when your dad quits talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to recognize their challenges can be another matter entirely. Hearing often declines slowly, meaning that many individuals might not even realize how profoundly their day-to-day hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, admitting that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.

How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may respond. When getting ready, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to accept hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody won’t wear them.

Pick The Right Time

When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them hypersensitive to any imagined attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.

Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Point out situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their everyday life. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

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 issues, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a different time.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both people cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing loss. The process of getting hearing aids can be really daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. In order to make the process 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. Some people may feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.

Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids

So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.