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

When your mother is always a few seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter entirely. Hearing frequently declines slowly, meaning that many individuals may 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 having them to accept they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.

How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person may react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at their own pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the idea before going ahead. If a person refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Find Your Moment

When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. If you go with a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.

Take a Clear And Direct Approach

It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, like having trouble following television shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their everyday 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?”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. 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 difficult this conversation 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 effective discussion about hearing impairment. The process of buying hearing aids can be really daunting and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your support to make the transition as smooth as possible. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people may feel embarrassed about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.

Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process

So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member might have with their new hearing aids.

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.

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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

    Ocean Gate, NJ

    143 W Barnegat Avenue
    Ocean Gate, NJ 08740

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