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 tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Most people won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.

How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to consider what you will say and how the person might react. When planning, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. TOne thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re prepared. If someone refuses to use 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. If you pick a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.

Take a Clear And Straightforward Approach

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life instead of focusing on their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you recognize how hard this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a different time.

Offer Next Steps

When both individuals work together you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. In order to make the journey 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. Information about the commonness of hearing problems may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing loss.

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

So your talks were compelling and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. 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.