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 talk about hearing aids. Although hearing loss is noticeable in a quarter of people from 65 yo74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Hearing often worsens gradually, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. Even if they do know it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right tone.

How to Consider Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

When planning to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have lots of time to think about what you will say and how the person may react. When getting ready, it’s helpful to frame this as a process instead of one conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the conversations proceed at their own pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before going ahead. If a person 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. Holidays or large get-togethers can be demanding and might draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. 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 Straightforward Approach

It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a conversation about your hearing mom”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a difficult time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life rather than emphasizing their hearing itself. You could say something like “You don’t seem to go out with your friends as much anymore, could that be because you have a difficult time hearing them?”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

Hearing loss frequently corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults facing physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Let them know that you recognize how hard this conversation can be. If the discussion starts to go south, table it until a later time.

Offer Next Steps

When both individuals work together you will have the most effective discussion about hearing loss. The process of buying hearing aids can be really daunting and that could be one reason why they are so reluctant. So that you can make the process as smooth as possible, offer to help. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept 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.

Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids

So your loved one decided to see us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to create new habits. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. If your family member is unhappy 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.