Are your parents showing signs of hearing loss?
Most parents and their children dread the day when their roles may be reversed: When the adult child is faced with becoming a caregiver for their aging parents. Much of the turmoil surrounding this time for aging adults is rooted in fear of losing their independence.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Safety
Having an untreated or ignored hearing loss can have a big impact on a person’s health and safety. Operating a vehicle without being able to hear emergency sirens or other drivers honking can cause accidents. Not being able to communicate effectively with multiple medical professionals and specialists can result in instructions not being followed and dangerous misunderstandings. Further, it’s been shown that when you have an untreated hearing loss, your brain is at risk of auditory deprivation.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
Studies have shown that when hearing loss is ignored, it can hasten cognitive decline. Not being able to hear means your parents will have a harder time connecting with others which leads to social isolation, feelings of helplessness, and depression.
Tips for talking about hearing loss
If you’re ready to broach this difficult topic and tell your parents it’s time to get hearing aids, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Here are some tips for success.
Mention the health benefits of hearing aids, like the reduced risk of dementia. Hearing aids can also help treat tinnitus. It’s hard to argue against these benefits.
Do your homework
Take time to research the basics of hearing loss and hearing aids. If your parents have limited knowledge, they’ll appreciate that you are a few steps ahead of them. If they already know a lot about hearing loss treatment, you’ll be able to have an intelligent discussion if you know the basics.
Be empathetic and loving
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. Now more than ever it’s important to know these communication tips for talking to people with hearing loss.
Focus on the impacts
Rather than talking incessantly about the hearing loss itself focus on how the hearing loss is affecting your lives, especially if you are a caregiver. You might mention that they seem tired and frustrated more often because listening with hearing loss is much harder than with normal hearing. You might even tell them how much their young granddaughter misses being able to talk to them on the phone. Ask them to open up to you about other challenges the hearing loss is causing.
Be a partner
To the extent they want help, offer it. The beginning of a new journey with hearing aids can be daunting with so many product choices, confusing hearing aid advertisements, and technology that can be difficult to understand. It’s useful to have a second set of ears at these appointments since there will be a lot of information to digest, and you can help your parents sort through it.. Hearing aids are expensive, and they are not covered by Medicare. Price alone is one of the most common reasons why people don’t buy hearing aids.
Be an advocate
to new sounds and getting used to handling hearing aids isn’t easy for everyone. You can be a valuable resource for them by practicing hearing aid care with them in between their follow up appointments, talking about all the new sounds they are hearing and just being patient with their process.
How to find a trusted hearing provider
After having this discussion about their need for hearing help it’s important to find your parents a trusted hearing care professional nearby. Contact SightMD today to schedule an appointment at one of our seven locations across Long Island.