There are many factors at stake when raising the issue of hearing loss with your parents. It can be confronting for adults to receive medical opinions from people who are younger, especially in the role-reversal when an adult child becomes a caregiver for their parents.
A fear of losing independence often lies at the heart of this tension. It can be debilitating for a person to admit that they no longer are able to do the things which they have always enjoyed. Not being fully present in conversation due to hearing loss can have tremendous impacts on a person’s mental health, as they may begin to feel detached from friends and family. This can augment social isolation, feelings of helplessness and low moods. Studies have shown that ignoring hearing loss can also hasten cognitive decline. Not being able to hear emergency sirens while driving or instructions from medical professionals can result in dangerous misunderstandings.
Here are our tips for broaching the subject of hearing loss with your parents.
If your parents have limited knowledge, they’ll appreciate that you have taken the effort to educate yourself about the issues they are facing. If they already know a lot about hearing loss treatment, you’ll be equipped to have an intelligent discussion about their experience with hearing loss.
Timing is key
Like any pivotal conversation, avoid raising a difficult issue during stressful times. Wait until you have some peaceful alone time with them. Ensure that the television and other devices are silenced so you won’t be interrupted.
Try to understand the emotional stress which hearing loss can cause. You want them to get help for their hearing loss because you want the best for them. Don’t lose sight of your good intentions if the conversation isn’t going the way you hoped.
Focus on the effects
To reduce the risk of your mum or dad becoming defensive, talk about how the challenges of hearing loss impacts your lives rather than talking incessantly about the hearing loss itself.
Follow up with your parents
If you succeed in getting mum and dad an appropriate hearing aid – wonderful! However, like any new device, there is a period of breaking in. Adjusting to new sounds and the functionality of hearing aids can be tricky. Ensure that you openly talk about the new sounds they are hearing and that you are being patient with their process.