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

You know it’s time to start talking about hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always laughs 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 people over 75, getting them to recognize their troubles can be another matter entirely. Most individuals won’t even perceive 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 acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more successful, observe the following advice.

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

View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation

When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person might respond. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to admit to hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. 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 by themselves and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. To make sure 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 Open And Direct in Your Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Offer well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, like having a hard time following tv programs asking people to repeat what they said, complaining that people mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life instead of talking about their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem might be the reason for that”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, wait until a later time.

Offer Next Steps

When both people work together you will have the most successful conversation about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. So that you can make the journey as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you talk, print out our information. 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.

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

So your loved one decided to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adapt to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. Take seriously any concerns your family member might 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.