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

You know it’s time to start discussing hearing aids when your dad stops using 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 detectable in a quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties 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 cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following advice.

How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One

Recognize That it Won’t be One Conversation But a Process

When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to ponder what you will say and how the person may respond. When planning, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to admit to hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at their own pace. You really need to hold off 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.

Find Your Moment

When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the best time. If you pick 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. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.

Take a Clear And Direct Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Emphasize situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their daily life rather than emphasizing their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve observed 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 more frail and face age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is frequently associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a later time.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both people cooperate you will have the most successful discussion about hearing impairment. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be really daunting and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as possible. 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 problems might help individuals who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing problems.

Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids

So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.

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