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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 talking on the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to accept their difficulties can be another matter entirely. Hearing often declines gradually, meaning that many people may not even recognize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.

How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person might respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. It may take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they have a hearing problem. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions continue at their own pace. TOne thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. After all, hearing aids do no good if somebody won’t wear them.

Pick The Right Time

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 loss and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.

Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a talk about your hearing mom”. Offer well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having a hard time hearing tv programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their everyday life. For example, “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

Hearing impairment often corresponds to a larger fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how hard this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both individuals cooperate you will have the most successful conversation about hearing loss. The process of purchasing hearing aids can be very daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your support to make the transition as smooth as possible. 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 might feel self-conscious about needing hearing aids so letting them know that hearing loss is more common than they think.

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

So your talks were convincing 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 some time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. During this cycle of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues your family member may have with their new hearing aids.

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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.