How to Talk to a Loved One About Hearing Impairment

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

When your mother is always several seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Even though a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of people over the age of 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to recognize their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Hearing frequently worsens slowly, meaning that many people might not even realize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.

How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

When preparing to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to ponder 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. Your loved one might take weeks or months of talks to admit to hearing loss. And that’s okay! 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’re prepared. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone refuses to wear them.

Find Your Moment

When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the best time. If you choose a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they may 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 participate in the conversation.

Take a Clear And Direct Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life instead of emphasizing their hearing itself. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

For older adults who are weaker and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing impairment. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion 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 successful discussion about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. So that you can make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also call us to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Information about the commonness of hearing problems may help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.

Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids

So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy with the hearing aids, take those concerns seriously.

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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