What’s The Best Way to Discuss Hearing Impairment With a Loved One?

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

You know it’s time to start talking over hearing aids when your dad quits 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 people from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to recognize their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing often declines gradually, meaning that many individuals may not even recognize how significantly their everyday hearing has changed. 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 guidance can help you frame your conversation to make sure it hits the right tone.

How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

Before having the discussion, take some time to consider 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 one conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they’re suffering from a hearing issue. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the decision before proceeding. If somebody refuses to use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Pick The Appropriate Time

Pick a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. If you choose a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. To ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.

Be Clear And Straightforward in Your Approach

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Give well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, like having a hard time hearing tv programs asking people to repeat themselves, insisting that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life instead of talking about their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

For older adults who are more frail and deal with age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a wider fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and attempt to understand where your loved one is coming from if they resist the idea that they have hearing loss. Let them know that you recognize how hard this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Offer Next Steps

When both people cooperate you will have the most successful discussion 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 purchasing hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. 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 talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.

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.