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 laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 to 74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to recognize their difficulties can be another matter entirely. Most people won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens slowly. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to acknowledge they need hearing aids. If you want to make that conversation easier and more productive, observe the following advice.

How to Tell a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids

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

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 helpful to frame this as a process rather than one conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to acknowledge hearing loss. And that’s okay! Let the conversations proceed at a natural pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is very comfortable with the idea before proceeding. If somebody refuses to 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 alone. If you go with a time when other people are around you may draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they may feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk 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

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure pronouncements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom.” Emphasize situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat what they said. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues affect their day-to-day life instead of talking about their hearing itself. You could say something like “You aren’t going out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a hard time hearing them?”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

For older adults who are weaker and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is often associated with a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the issues, attempt to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a different time.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both individuals cooperate you will have the most successful conversation about hearing impairment. The process of buying hearing aids can be really daunting and that may be one reason why they are so reluctant. Provide your help to make the change as smooth as possible. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also give us a call to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance. Some people may feel self-conscious 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 loved one consented to consult us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But the process doesn’t stop there. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to take care of, and perhaps some old habits to forget. Be an advocate during this adjustment period. If your family member is dissatisfied 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.