Hearing loss can be isolating, particularly when it comes to connecting with family and friends. It can be aggravating for both sides, especially if the hearing loss hasn’t been properly diagnosed by an audiologist. When it comes time to talk to your aging parent about hearing loss, how exactly do you do so?
Why this conversation is important to have
Hearing loss that’s left unchecked has been shown in studies to have a negative impact on relationships with family and friends, especially those closest to you, such as your parents or children. In any relationship, communication is crucial, and it can be very frustrating if your voice isn’t heard.
When communication breaks down, anger sets in. This rage can turn into resentment, which can lead to even more breakdowns in communication.
If you’ve noticed hearing loss with your aging parents, it can be difficult to know how to approach the situation. Here are the best methods to encourage your parents to have their ears checked for hearing loss.
4 ways to talk about hearing loss to your aging parent:
1. Be sensitive and respectful
When you’re trying to connect with your parents about their hearing loss, it’s important to remember that it affects their lives just as much as yours. If you believe your parents suffer from hearing loss and may benefit from hearing aids, talk to them about it.
Approach the subject with caution, as some people may find it difficult to comprehend. Investigate hearing loss and how it could affect their lives in various ways.
2. Suggest a plan of action
Encourage your loved one to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. This specialist will be able to diagnose the cause of their hearing loss quickly and painlessly, as well as recommend effective treatment options, such as hearing aids.
Your parents may be reluctant, but offering your hand of support during the process will help them come to terms with visiting an audiologist. Offer to attend the appointment with them for moral support, as well as taking notes of your own about their diagnosis.
3. Adjust your volume of voice
Hearing loss can be extremely debilitating, so it’s important to know how to approach someone that can’t hear you. Tap their shoulder or wave your hand to get their attention. Not only is shouting or raising your voice degrading, but it also distorts your voice.
Loud sounds can be uncomfortable for some people, so avoid shouting. Speak to them directly to ensure that your voice is heard clearly.
If you turn your head away, they may miss some or all of what you’re trying to say. It’s also important to remember to speak slowly and clearly.
Remember to be compassionate with them if they misunderstand what you’re saying. Maintaining effective communication in your relationship is as much your responsibility as it is theirs.
4. Research treatments for hearing loss in an aging parent
Finally, if your parents are reluctant to attend an audiology appointment, present them with some treatment options. Ideally, you will do the research beforehand to be able to explain how it could help them.
There are many different types of hearing aids they could choose from (depending on the severity of their hearing loss) that will suit their lifestyle. They may also be able to choose accessories such as induction loops to help them hear as much as possible around them.