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 stops talking on the phone because it’s too difficult to hear, it is time to talk about hearing aids. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to accept their challenges can be another matter altogether. Hearing usually worsens gradually, meaning that many individuals may not even recognize how significantly their day-to-day hearing has changed. And even if they are aware of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to accept they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to make sure it hits the right note.

How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One

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

When preparing to have a discussion about a family member’s hearing impairment, you have a lot of time to consider what you will say and how the person might respond. When getting ready, it’s recommended to frame this as a process as opposed to a single conversation. It might take a series of discussions over weeks or months for your loved one to accept they have a hearing issue. There isn’t anything wrong with that! Let the discussions proceed at a natural pace. One thing you don’t want to do is force your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. After all, hearing aids don’t do any good if somebody refuses to wear them.

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 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 engage in the conversation.

Be Open And Direct in Your Approach

It’s best not to be vague and ambiguous about your concerns. Be direct: “Lets’s have a discussion about your hearing mom”. Point out circumstances where they’ve insisted people are mumbling, had a hard time hearing tv shows or asked people to repeat themselves. Rather than emphasizing your loved one’s hearing itself, talk about the effect of hearing problems on their daily life. For example, “I’ve noticed 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 larger fear of losing independence, particularly 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 issues, attempt to understand his or her point of view. Acknowledge how difficult this discussion can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.

Provide Help With Further Action

The most effective conversations about hearing loss occur 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. Offer your assistance to make the change as smooth as you can. Before you talk, print out our information. You can also call us to see if we take your loved one’s insurance. 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 talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Fantastic! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Your loved one has new sounds to manage, new devices to care for, and maybe some old habits to unlearn. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any issues 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.


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