Tips for talking about hearing loss
Hearing loss is a very delicate, personal topic for many people. In fact, it’s common for people to go through a prolonged grieving process about the loss of their hearing. People often see having trouble hearing as a sign of aging, and it can be hard to accept and talk about. But when you see a family member struggling with hearing loss and missing out on many things because of it, it is natural to want to help. The first thing to do is have a conversation in a sensitive way and do your best to avoid upsetting your loved one by using a suitable hearing aid .
To the extent they want help, offer it. The beginning of a new journey with hearing aids can be daunting with so many product choices, confusing hearing aid advertisements, and technology that can be difficult to understand. Help Mom or Dad find a hearing care professional close to home, and offer to go to their appointments with them. It’s useful to have a second set of ears at these appointments since there will be a lot of information to digest, and you can help your parents sort through it.
Finally, if you are in the fortunate position to be able to help your mom or dad pay for their new hearing aids, consider that your help could be just the push they need to take the next step. Hearing aid are expensive, and they are not covered by Medicare. Price alone is one of the most common reasons why people don’t buy hearing aids.
Be an advocate
If you succeed, and Mom or Dad ends up with new hearing aids, that’s wonderful. But, new hearing aids are only the beginning of the better hearing journey. Adjusting to new sounds and getting used to handling hearing aids isn’t easy for everyone. You can be a valuable resource for your folks by practicing hearing aid care with them in between their follow up appointments, talking about all the new sounds they are hearing and just being patient with their process.
You can also be their champion with the rest of the family so everyone understands how best to communicate with your parents. As we grow older, we sometimes become less assertive about our needs and less willing to “rock the boat.” If the hearing aids aren’t working properly or if your parent isn’t satisfied, be a liaison between them and their hearing care professional. Don’t let their concerns be ignored, or those hard-won hearing aids may end up in the junk drawer.
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