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

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

When your mother is always a couple of seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too hard to hear, it’s time to discuss hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to acknowledge their challenges can be another matter entirely. Hearing usually worsens slowly, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having 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 Tell 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 impairment, you have lots of time to consider what you will say and how the person might respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single discussion. Your loved one may take weeks or months of talks to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. If somebody won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Choose Your Moment

Decide on a time when your loved one is calm and by themselves. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and may draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.

Be Open And Straightforward in Your Approach

It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. 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. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day-to-day life rather than emphasizing their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve noticed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

Hearing impairment frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. If the discussion begins to go south, wait until a later time.

Provide Help With Further Action

The most successful discussions about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of buying hearing aids. Offer your help to make the transition as smooth as possible. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also call us 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.

Realize 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. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is dissatisfied with the hearing aids, take those issues 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.