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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 laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to recognize their challenges can be another matter entirely. Most people won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.

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

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

When preparing to have a conversation about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to ponder what you will say and how the person might respond. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. It may take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing problem. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before proceeding. If a person refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Choose Your Moment

When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can take part in the conversation.

Take a Clear And Direct Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life rather than focusing on their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem 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, particularly for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Provide Help With Further Action

The most productive discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. 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.

Know That The Process Doesn’t Stop With Hearing Aids

So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. 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. Take seriously any concerns 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.
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