Why is your loved one refusing to get hearing aids? Tips for talking about hearing loss with a stubborn loved one
By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.
Have you noticed a loved one asking others to speak up, turn the TV volume up, or withdraw from conversations? Often it is the loved ones of the individual with hearing loss who first notice and feel the impact of the hearing loss. But bringing up the topic of hearing loss and hearing aids can be sensitive and lead to a dispute. It may be the concept of aging, too many doctors’ visits, relying on technology, or cost concerns that keep the individual from the better hearing they deserve.
Here are some tips to facilitate a discussion about hearing loss and change their mind about a hearing test:
- Make the time – Dedicate time to discuss the individuals hearing loss. Create a quiet and peaceful environment for the conversation away from TV or phone interruptions and other stressors.
- Approach with love – As people age or changes occur in their life, sometimes they feel as though they are out of control with the things that are happening in their life. Showing compassion and support in the conversation can yield a better discussion then trying to force them.
- Discuss the benefits of improved hearing – Communication is a two-way street, thus the hearing loss does not just affect the individual but all communication partners. Research has shown that hearing aids help in marriage and other relationships as well as increase occupational performance and earning power. Research also supports that treated hearing loss decreases the risk of dementia and cognitive decline, reduces social isolation, and reduces depression.
- Show how the family is affected – Again, hearing loss doesn’t just impact the individual but also their family and friends. Describe instances when the conversation or interaction could have been better if the person could hear what others were saying.
- Point out how technology can be helpful – Hearing aids today are not what they used to be. Hearing aids can be small and discrete with automatic features so there is no fuss to the wearer. Discuss with your audiologist any concerns to customize hearing aid needs. At the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, our audiologists work with all manufacturers and styles to figure out which best suits each individual. Additional options include rechargeability and connecting to smart phones, TVs, and other devices for improved sound quality.
- Provide support – The first step towards better hearing is making an appointment with hearing healthcare professionals. But just talking about scheduling an appointment is not the same as doing. Provide office and contact information to discuss where and when to schedule the hearing test. Offer to help your loved one schedule the appointment, and if accessible, make yourself available to attend.
Scheduling an appointment is the first step towards better hearing. At the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center the appointment starts with an ear check and cleaning with the ENT physician followed by a diagnostic hearing test with a doctorate level audiologist and appropriate hearing device recommendation.