What’s The Best Way to Talk About Hearing Loss 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 discussing hearing aids when your dad stops using the phone because he has a hard time hearing or your mom always laughs late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, getting them to acknowledge their challenges can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it declines slowly. Even if they do know it, acknowledging that they need hearing aids can be a big step. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following advice.

How to Talk About Hearing Aids With a Loved One

View it as a Process, Not a Single Conversation

Before having the conversation, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process instead of a single conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing issue. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. One thing you don’t 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 won’t wear them.

Pick The Appropriate Time

When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the best time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. A one-on-one conversation with no background noise also helps ensure that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.

Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach

It’s best not to be vague and unclear about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to talk to you concerning your hearing”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, like having difficulty hearing television shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that people mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their daily life. For instance, “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”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

For older adults who are more frail 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 loss. Let them know that you understand how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both individuals cooperate you will have the most effective discussion about hearing impairment. The process of getting hearing aids can be extremely daunting and that might be one reason why they are so reluctant. Offer your help to make the change as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. We can also check to see if we take 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 convincing and your loved one has agreed to explore hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t end there. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. 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.