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 few seconds too late to laugh at the punchline of a joke or your father stops talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Although a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 and half of individuals over age 75 have noticeable hearing loss, it can be an altogether different matter getting them to acknowledge their hearing issues. Hearing usually declines gradually, meaning that many individuals might not even recognize how profoundly their everyday hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. If you want to make that discussion easier and more successful, observe the following guidance.

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

View it as a Process, Not One Conversation

Before having the conversation, take some time to consider what you will say and how your loved one will respond. When preparing, it’s helpful to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. It may take a series of conversations over weeks or months for your loved one to admit they have a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the conversation have a natural flow. The last thing you want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. If somebody won’t wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.

Choose Your Moment

Choose a time when your loved one is relaxed and by themselves. Holidays or large get-togethers can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them sensitive to any imagined attack. To make sure that your loved one hears you correctly and can actively participate in the conversation, a quiet one-on-one is the best plan.

Be Open And Direct in Your Approach

It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Mention situations where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time following tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing problems impact their day-to-day life instead of focusing on 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

For older adults who are more frail and face age-related challenges in particular hearing loss is frequently linked to a broader fear of loss of independence. If your loved one is unwilling to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation 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 people work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss might be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. Provide your help to make the transition as smooth as you can. 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 might 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 agreed to see us and get hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. It takes time to adjust to hearing aids. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. Be an advocate during this adjustment time. 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.