How to Talk to a Loved One About Hearing Loss

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 using the phone because he has a tough time hearing or your mom always reacts late to the punchline of a joke. Even though a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over the age of 75 have detectable hearing loss, it can be an entirely different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing issues. Hearing usually declines slowly, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how profoundly 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 advice can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.

How to Explain to a Loved One That They Need Hearing Aids

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

Before having the discussion, take some time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single discussion. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they have a hearing problem. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. You really need to wait until your loved one is very comfortable with the idea before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.

Pick The Appropriate Time

When your loved one is by themselves and calm would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be demanding and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing issues, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively take part in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.

Be Open And Straightforward in Your Approach

Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague statements 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 difficult time hearing tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Talk about how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life instead of focusing on their hearing itself. For example, “I’ve observed that you don’t socialize as often with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue has something to do with that”.

Be Sensitive to Their Underlying Fears And Concerns

Hearing impairment often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults confronted with physical frailty or other age-related changes. Be compassionate and try to recognize where your loved one is coming from if they are resistant to the idea that they have hearing loss. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. If the conversation begins to go south, table it until a different time.

Offer Next Steps

When both people cooperate you will have the most effective conversation about hearing loss. The process of buying hearing aids can be extremely overwhelming and that could be one reason why they are so hesitant. So that you can make the journey as smooth as possible, assistance. Before you talk, print out our information. We can also check to see if we take your loved one’s insurance before they call. Some people might 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 Stop With Hearing Aids

So your loved one agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adapting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has new sounds to process, new devices to care for, and perhaps some old habits to forget. During this cycle 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.