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 tough to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Although a quarter of individuals aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to recognize their hearing problems. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines little by little. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right note.

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

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

Before having the discussion, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. It might take a number of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversations continue at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before going ahead. If someone won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Pick The Right Time

Decide on a time when your loved one is relaxed and alone. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.

Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach

It’s beneficial not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Present well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having difficulty following tv shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life rather than talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much these days, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Let them know that you recognize how difficult this conversation can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.

Offer Next Steps

When both people work together you will have the most successful discussion about hearing impairment. The process of buying hearing aids can be very daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. In order to make the process 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. 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 convincing and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is unhappy 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.