How to Talk to a Loved One About Hearing Loss

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 hard to hear, it’s time to talk about hearing aids. Even though hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 and 50% of individuals over 75, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to accept their hearing issues. Most people won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it worsens little by little. Even if they do know it, admitting that they need hearing aids can be a huge step. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following advice.

How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

When planning to have a dialogue about a family member’s hearing loss, you have lots of time to ponder what you will say and how the person may respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one discussion. Your loved one might take weeks or months of talks to accept hearing loss. And that’s okay! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the idea before proceeding. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if someone won’t wear them.

Pick The Right Time

When your loved one is alone and relaxed would be the most appropriate time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any perceived attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively engage in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best idea.

Be Open And Direct in Your Approach

Now isn’t the time to beat around the bush with obscure statements about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Provide well-defined examples of symptoms you’ve observed, such as having a hard time hearing tv shows asking people to repeat what they said, insisting that others mumble, or missing information in important conversations. Rather than talking about your loved one’s hearing itself, focus on the impact of hearing problems on their day-to-day life. For instance, “I’ve observed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing problem might be the reason for that”.

Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears

Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is resistant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how hard this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Offer Next Steps

The most successful discussions about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to take the next steps. The process of getting hearing aids can be very daunting and that may be one reason why they are so hesitant. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as you can. Print out and rehearse before you talk. You can also call us 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.

Know That The Process Doesn’t End With Hearing Aids

So your talks were convincing and your loved one has agreed to look into hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to forget. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns 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.