How to Communicate With 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. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of people over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, getting them to acknowledge their troubles can be another matter entirely. Most individuals won’t even notice how much their hearing has changed because it declines gradually. Even if they do recognize it, recognizing that they need hearing aids can be a big step. The following advice can help you frame your conversation to ensure it hits the right tone.

How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

Before having the discussion, take the time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. As you consider this, remember that it will be a process not one conversation. It might take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to acknowledge they’re suffering from a hearing problem. And that’s okay! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. You really need to hold off until your loved one is really comfortable with the decision before proceeding. After all, hearing aids do no good if someone refuses to wear them.

Pick The Appropriate Time

When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the best time. If you choose a time when other people are around you might draw too much attention to your loved one’s hearing problems and they might feel like they’re being ganged up on and attacked. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.

Be Clear And Direct in Your Approach

It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Emphasize circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv programs or asked people to repeat what they said. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues impact their day-to-day life rather than emphasizing 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

Hearing impairment often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, specifically 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 impairment. Let them know that you understand how hard this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Provide Help With Further Action

When both people work together you will have the most successful discussion about hearing impairment. Part of your loved one’s resistance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Provide your assistance to make the transition as smooth as you can. Before you have that conversation, 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.

Realize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process

So your loved one decided to see us and get hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes some time. Your loved one has to deal with a new device, new sounds and has to establish new habits. 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.