It’s not easy to broach the subject of changing hearing health with your parent(s). The stigmas associated with aging can make your mom or dad hesitant to address their hearing loss. But the sooner you have a conversation, the sooner they’ll get the treatment they need to improve their quality of life.
Know When It’s Time to Talk
It’s important to take note of your loved one’s signs of hearing loss. Here are some common symptoms and scenarios to consider:
- Your parent regularly asks others to repeat themselves, speak up or talk slower.
- The volume of their television is too loud or has become increasingly louder.
- Your loved one struggles to understand phone conversations.
- They have trouble hearing in noisy settings such as restaurants and family gatherings.
- You’ve noticed them starting to withdraw from social interactions.
- They have difficulty understanding their grandchildren.
Do Your Research
It’s important to learn about age-related hearing loss, comorbidities, and the basics of hearing aids before you talk to your loved one. It will help you understand what’s happening to your parent’s hearing and give them some context about their hearing loss. Presenting your point of view with factual information will support your perspective.
Be Careful with Your Timing
The potentially sensitive nature of the topic means you need to be strategic about when you bring it up. Discussing your mom or dad’s hearing loss when they’re stressed, tired, or frustrated may result in an unproductive conversation. Ask your loved one to have a conversation when they’re relaxed. Find a quiet place to talk one-on-one without distractions.
Emphasize Family Ties
Your parent’s hearing loss doesn’t just affect them. Hearing loss negatively impacts communication with family and friends, leading to misunderstandings and social withdrawal. Talk to your mom or dad about how hearing loss treatment helps them stay connected to the people they love so they can continue to make memories.
It may be helpful to have the hearing loss discussion with another friend or family member present. They can provide additional insight so your parent understands others notice their hearing loss too. Work together as a family to ensure everyone is practicing good communication techniques, so the responsibility doesn’t fall on your parent alone.
Discuss the Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment
Highlighting the advantages of hearing loss treatment will help your mom or dad view their condition more positively.
Here are some benefits to consider:
- Prevent cognitive decline: Hearing loss can cause social isolation, depriving the brain of much-needed stimulation. That increases your loved one’s risk for memory loss and dementia. Seeking treatment slows the rate of cognitive decline and lowers the likelihood of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s or depression.
- Lower fall risk: The inner ear helps regulate special awareness and balance. Talk to your loved one about how hearing loss treatment can help them feel steadier and reduce their risk for dangerous falls.
- Address comorbidities: Hearing loss can be a symptom of other health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. An audiologist will determine the cause of your parent’s hearing loss and prescribe specific treatment to address all health concerns.
- Maintain independence: Hearing loss negatively affects your parent’s quality of life and poses a safety risk. Improving their hearing will help your mom or dad continue to lead a productive and independent lifestyle.
It’s not easy to have a loved ones tell you that your physical abilities are changing. Ask yourself how you would feel if the roles were reversed. That will help you understand their reaction and adjust your approach.
Be honest with your loved one about your concerns and allow them time to process and respond. Offer your support, but let your parent decide how much assistance they require. That may include helping them take an online hearing test or going to their audiology appointments with them.
The Audio Help Hearing Centers team determines the best hearing solution based on the expertise of our audiologists. We don’t focus on the brand of the hearing product. It’s about helping people hear better. Contact us online or call 888-832-9966 to schedule your appointment.