How to get older family members to try hearing aids

Hearing loss affects 164.5 million people worldwide over the age of 65, according to the World Health Organization. But while age-related hearing loss may be common, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to raise the issue of hearing loss with your elderly loved ones. For some people, the decision to wear hearing aids can be a deeply personal one. But it’s not always the individual making the choice that is affected. While it can be hard for someone to acknowledge that they have a problem, their hearing loss can also have a huge impact on the rest of the family.

164.5 million

Hearing loss affects 164.5 million people worldwide over the age of 65, according to WHO.

Signs of hearing loss

If you suspect that an a family member suffers from hearing loss, here are some common hearing loss symptoms to look out for:

  • Difficulty hearing on the telephone
  • Complaining of ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Struggles to follow conversations
  • Often ask people to repeat themselves
  • Often needs to turn up the TV volume
  • Avoids social situations
  • Struggles to hear when there is background noise
  • Watches people’s mouths as they speak
  • Complains that other people mumble
  • Pretends to hear what people say
  • If you notice that your family member is showing any of these symptoms, they may have a hearing loss.

Trying hearing aids

When someone has become used to living with hearing loss, wearing hearing aids can transform their lives. But getting an older family member to wear hearing aids can be difficult. If you have an older family member experiencing hearing loss, here are some tips to convince them to try a hearing aid.

Share your feelings

Tell your loved one just how much you value your relationship with them and how their hearing loss affects you and other members of the family. Do this with kindness and compassion. Don’t use guilt, confrontation or threats. This may also be the opportunity to gently talk to them about the risks of leaving their hearing loss untreated. While not trying to frighten them, explain how hearing loss can affect their balance, lead to falls, stop them from being able to hear alarms or safety alerts. It can also cause mental fatigue, frustration, and even social isolation.

Tell success stories

Talk with your friends and other relatives who have had positive experiences of wearing hearing aids. Tell your loved one about these experiences and the difference hearing aids made to their lives, including the positive impact on their relationships, social lives and general well-being.

Share information about latest hearing solutions

Today’s hearing aids are much smaller, lighter and comfortable than they have ever been. Once people use hearing aids for the first time, most are pleasantly surprised. They can suddenly rediscover sounds they’ve missed. Hearing aids are also much more discreet, so if your family member is worried about their appearance, show them the latest hearing aids on the market.

Lead by example

Having annual hearing tests yourself will help to reinforce the importance of good hearing healthcare. Continuous family encouragement and recommendations are often the primary motivation for people to try hearing aids.

Visit a hearing care professional together

Taking this crucial step will likely be a lot easier for your family members if they don’t feel alone. Go with them to support them at their first appointment. Your input will also help to give the hearing care professional a clearer picture of the situation and improve the likelihood of treatment being successful.

It can be hard for someone to admit that their hearing is not what it was. There can often be denial and embarrassment. The most important thing you can do is listen. Find out where they are coming from and what is holding them back. Listen to what they say and what’s important to them.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

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