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 over hearing aids when your dad stops talking on the phone because he has a difficult time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to acknowledge their difficulties can be another matter entirely. Hearing frequently declines little by little, meaning that many individuals might not even realize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step having them to admit they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure 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 discussion, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will react. When preparing, it’s recommended to frame this as a process rather than a single conversation. It might take a number of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they’re suffering from a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they’re ready. If someone won’t use their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Find Your Moment

When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the best time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and may draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, 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 take part in the conversation.

Take a Clear And Direct 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”. Mention circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life rather than focusing on their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem has something to do with that”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

For older adults who are more frail and deal with age-related difficulties in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. Be compassionate and try to understand where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing impairment. Let them know that you recognize how hard this conversation can be. If the conversation starts to go south, wait until a later time.

Provide Help With Further Action

The most productive discussions about hearing loss occur when both parties work together to take the next steps. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of getting hearing aids. Offer your help to make the change as smooth as you can. 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. Some people might 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 convincing and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. Take seriously any issues 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.