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 begin talking about hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even perceive how much their hearing has changed because it worsens 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. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.

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

View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation

Before having the conversation, take the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If a person won’t wear 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 by themselves. If you pick a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing loss and they could feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can participate in the conversation.

Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you about your hearing”. Emphasize situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their everyday life. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

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

Provide Help With Further Action

The most successful conversations about hearing loss take place when both people work together to take the next steps. 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. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you have that conversation, 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 might help individuals who feel sensitive or embarrassed about their hearing problems.

Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids

So your loved one agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But the process doesn’t stop there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. 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.