If the time has come to finally approach your parent, spouse, or other loved one about their declining ability to hear, you have a tough conversation ahead of you. Your loved one may take the news well and gratefully accept professional help – or be in denial and refuse to do something about the symptoms that affect their everyday life. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to address hearing loss – here’s how to navigate the conversation with ease.
Focus on the Positive
Focusing on the negative aspects of hearing loss – for example, explaining how it affects their everyday lives – is important to a point. However, focusing too much on the symptoms themselves can cause your loved one to become negative. Instead, gear the conversation toward how much a hearing solution can help improve quality of life. Be prepared to explain how the process begins – by seeing an audiologist – and how professional intervention can help address symptoms and quality of life.
Hearing loss can be a natural part of the aging process. As such, empathy is paramount. In many years, your own children could be having this conversation with you. Consider how it must feel to lose hearing and use statements like, “I understand this might be difficult for you,” or “ I think you could benefit from a professional evaluation.”
Time It Right
The conversation is more likely to go well if you time it carefully. Don’t try to broach the subject during a stressful time or when they’re experiencing direct frustration as the result of their hearing loss. Instead, wait for the frustrating moment to pass and wait for when the two of you have some peaceful time alone.
Talk About Possible Solutions
Don’t focus too much on the hearing loss itself. Your loved one likely already knows the frustrations hearing loss poses. It’s okay to spend some time talking about how hearing loss affects your relationship – for example, you could mention activities that the two of you used to enjoy, like visiting the theater, that are no longer possible. Once you discuss the potential side effects, however, it’s time to move onto solutions.
Explain to your loved one that they don’t need to suffer from hearing loss needlessly. Solutions to the problem, such as hearing aids, exist. By addressing the problem, your loved one can experience an enhanced quality of life and more independence with appropriate intervention and treatment.