Is it Time to Talk to Your Parents About Hearing Aids?

Talking to parents about hearing lossOne of the unique aspects of human existence is the role reversal that comes with aging – your parents used to take care of you and provide for your every need, but as you both get older, you find yourself taking care of them. Maybe it hasn’t progressed that far yet, but you still find yourself having input when it comes to their health. Perhaps you’ve had a discussion about their living situation, or their next doctor’s visit, but have you had the talk yet about their hearing loss and the potential need for hearing aids?

Hearing loss and aging

One aspect of human aging is the desire to maintain independence as long as possible. This includes being able to continue to drive as well as live independently. As your parents age, they might also be stubbornly independent when it comes to hearing aids – they may struggle to hear but resist getting a hearing test for fear it will mean having to wear an assistive hearing device. Untreated hearing loss, however, can lead to safety issues like not being able to hear smoke alarms. Also, impaired driving due to the inability to properly process sounds from other drivers or emergency vehicles.

Tips for beginning the conversation about hearing aids

When you’ve determined that the time has come to talk to your parents about treating their hearing loss, there are a few things to consider that will make a potentially difficult conversation easier:

  1. Be empathetic – Put yourself in your parents’ shoes. You will be able to better anticipate what their reactions and feelings might be in relation to hearing aids. Be aware that the outcome of the conversation may not be exactly what you are looking for the first time. But at least you are starting the dialogue!
  2. Research – Before talking to your parents, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about hearing loss, its typical progression, and possible treatment options. This way, you will be saving your parents the headache of doing the research. You can present solutions, not just identify a problem.
  3. Timing and setting – When it comes to discussing hearing aids, or any other difficult topic, choosing the best time and place to have the conversation is critical. Pick a time of day that is best for your parents. Choose a quiet atmosphere, and make sure they aren’t already stressed about something else.

 Scheduling a visit with a hearing professional

If your parents are agreeable to having a hearing test, offer to accompany them on their first visit to the audiologist. Before you go, help them determine what their health insurance will and won’t cover in terms of office visits, tests, and hearing treatment. If possible, offer to help financially. No matter what happens, make sure your parents know that you only want the best for them. You’ll be there to support them every step of the way.

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