Hearing loss is a common chronic condition that affects millions of people every year. If you feel like a parent, spouse or other loved one has developed hearing problems, you may be wondering how to talk to them about taking steps toward treating their hearing loss with hearing aids.
Hearing Loss Becomes More Common with Age
While anyone can develop hearing loss, it does become more common with age. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults between the ages of 20-69, with most hearing loss occurring in the 60-69 age bracket.
Age-Related Hearing Loss Comes on Gradually
One common feature of age-related hearing loss is that symptoms often appear gradually. Sometimes, they can come on so slowly that the person with hearing loss might not even notice it at first, and instead, it’s a family member, partner or friend who notices the change.
If you think someone you love is struggling with their hearing, consider the following tips to have a conversation with them about getting hearing aids.
Four Tips For Talking to A Loved One About Hearing Aids
- Pick the right time. Talking to a loved one about their hearing loss can be a delicate conversation. It’s best to pick a time when both of you are relaxed and not stressed about other things. You also want to make sure you have enough time to be able to say what you need to while also listening to them and making sure they feel heard.
- Be clear and offer examples. Think about what you want to say beforehand and figure out your wording so that it doesn’t sound like an attack. Instead of “You need hearing aids,” consider mentioning examples of when their hearing loss has impacted you, like when you noticed they didn’t really participate in the conversation when having a family dinner out at Fog Harbor Fish House.
- Be compassionate and acknowledge their concerns. Admitting to having hearing loss can sometimes come with a fear of losing independence or being seen as less capable. If your loved one expresses resistance or denies that there is an issue, try to see where they are coming from. Be compassionate and be able to recognize if the conversation needs to be tabled for another time.
- Offer next steps. If your loved one is open to seeking treatment for their hearing loss, they may be unsure of what to do next. Offer to help them by doing research about audiologists in their area, helping them to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and offering to accompany them to their appointments so that they feel supported and not overwhelmed.
To learn more about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one, call San Francisco Audiology today.