Audiologist Dr. Leisa Lyles-DeLeon shares her tips for having difficult conversations about hearing loss with aging parents.
Posted in , Jan 17, 2018
Conversations with aging parents about hearing loss can be difficult, especially if they don’t realize how bad their hearing loss has become. Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss in the 60 - 69 age group.
Having this discussion in a truly productive way can help your parent improve their overall quality of life. It can also take away or reduce feelings often associated with hearing loss like frustration, isolation, and confusion.
Here are a few tips to get your conversation started:
1) Show compassion for their desire to remain independent.
Treatment for hearing loss can actually help support their level of independence. Not relying on others to repeat messages will allow them to play a more active role in discussions. While this can easily be taken for granted, being able to participate in the flow of information is essential to living an independent and productive life. This includes for example, being privy to important announcements when they are being made verbally.
2) Express concern for their safety.
Whether it’s being able to hear the smoke detector when sleeping at night or a car honk while driving, talk about your desire for them to be as safe as possible at all times and how hearing well will help.
3) Provide them with tangible examples of what you perceive they are missing.
Pretending to hear every part of a conversation can sometimes occur when someone experiences hearing loss. Remind them of specific conversations you had with them where you later realized they didn’t hear you.
4) Offer to go with them to their first appointment
Help reduce the fear of the unknown and increase the sense of urgency by offering to go with them to the first appointment. This can also help reduce any anxiety they may have been experiencing just thinking about the visit.