Encouraging your parents to get hearing aids is no easy task and is often a process that takes time and patience.
Healthy Hearing (www.HealthyHearing.com) recently published an article providing step-by-step recommendations on how to make the process more successful to ensure your parents get the help they need from hearing aids.
1. Before you talk to mom or dad (or both) educate yourself on the process of a hearing aid evaluation and most importantly hearing aids.
The internet is a perfect place to begin your research. In fact Healthy Hearing makes it easy for you with their Quick Consumer Guides, which provide you with information on hearing loss, hearing aids and helping loved ones to name a few.
Next discuss your situation or shall I say your parent's situation with a hearing care professional. Ask them to discuss the screening process and request they send you brochures, reports - anything you can use to explain today's hearing aid technology and the benefits it delivers - to everyone.
2. Pick your moment. Don't decide to talk about the problem at the height of frustration after repeating something three times to your hard-of-hearing mother. You're frustrated and you want to be calm, cool and collected during the discussion. They are sure to become defensive, so you staying calm is crucial.
3. Choose a time when you know you won't be interrupted. It could take an hour or so to go over what you've learned. Turn off the TV, radio and other distractions - the fewer distractions the better.
4. Be sympathetic and understanding. The geriatric crowd is a proud bunch and they have no intention of looking old or feeling old. They get it: life's too short to drink cheap wine. But what they may not get is life is too short to NOT wear hearing aids. And remember, someday your kids will be telling you to get a hearing aid or hand over your driver's license. Scary, huh?
5. Review the literature and research. Discuss with your parent how far hearing aid technology has come in the Digital Age. They need to understand these are no longer their grandpa's big beige hearing aids, they are sophisticated and fashionable.
Describe the hearing aid evaluation process based on your discussion with the hearing care professional. (It doesn't hurt.)
6. Stress the benefits, not the features of hearing aids. Describe the benefits, such as improved hearing while in background noise, not technical specs.
7. Go with your parent for the evaluation and discuss the results with your mom or dad and the hearing care professional. With the hearing evaluation data, the professional can make suggestions based on budget, lifestyle, and preferences and so on.
8. Finally, only purchase the features your parent will use. If you don't expect her to go white-water rafting, you don't need the heavy-duty quality of some of the best hearing aids out there. You can spend less, or put that extra cost to other, more useful features - like more automated convenience.
However if your parent still leads an active lifestyle and finds themselves in demanding listening situations (background noise) go for the gold and purchase the most advanced technology to help them.
Be an Advocate
Finally, be an advocate for your parents. As we grow older, we sometimes become less likely to "rock the boat." If the hearing aids aren't right, if your parent isn't happy, revisit the hearing care professional to make sure those hearing aids don't end up in the junk drawer.
Buy the best you can afford. We're talking quality of life, here. Something hard on which to put a price.
Like what you're reading? Visit HealthyHearing for a full featured article on How to Tell Your Parents They Need Hearing Aids: The Baby Boomers' Dilemma.