How often have you noticed that a parent or grandparent gets lost in a discussion because they are unable to hear the conversations in the room? It is common for loved ones to notice the signs of hearing loss before the patient will admit that they have a problem.
It can be hard on the individual, as well as the entire family when these hearing issues start to get in the way of everyday conversations. You might be concerned about the person’s hearing, but encounter resistance when trying to encourage them to talk to an ENT for a hearing test.
It is estimated that 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have hearing loss that is disabling. Many more than that have hearing loss to a lesser extent, but could still benefit from the use of a hearing aid. Despite the limitations that hearing loss has on a person’s life, it is common for there to be resistance to the idea of using hearing aids.
8 Tips to Change Their Mind about a Hearing Test
Here are a few ideas that you can use to help the person see the importance of scheduling a hearing test:
1. Do Your Homework: Make sure you are familiar with the topic before broaching the subject with a family member. Dedicate time to do research about hearing loss, and have contact information ready for a few providers in the area. It might be helpful to talk to a local ENT for personal recommendations to encourage the person to come in for a hearing test.
2. Consider Timing: When your loved one is already stressed about other issues, don’t aggravate the situation by bringing up the topic of hearing aids at the same time. Wait until you have a quiet, peaceful moment together. Make sure your phone is silenced, and the TV is turned off so you can talk without interruption.
3. Approach Them with Love: As people age, sometimes they feel as though they are out of control with the things that are changing in life. Show empathy and love in the conversation, instead of trying to force them. Showing compassion can soften the feelings, making the person feel more comfortable and relaxed about the idea.
4. Share Benefits about Improved Hearing: Instead of letting emotions drive the conversation, turn the person’s attention to the facts and benefits. Look for research studies that show how hearing aids can help by reducing the risk of dementia and cognitive decline, improve marriage relationships, and even increase a person’s earning power.
5. Annual Healthcare Checkups: Schedule the hearing test as part of their annual healthcare checkups. When the appointment is positioned in the same way as a dental cleaning or eye exam, then it feels normal to have the ears checked as well.
6. Point Out Technology Features: If you are talking to someone who enjoys staying current with the cutting-edge of technology, share some of the cool features that are available with hearing aids. For example, these devices can offer unique features such as fitness tracking, Bluetooth connection to use as earbuds, language translation, fall alerts, and more.
7. Show How the Family is Affected: Help the person see how the hearing issues aren’t only a personal problem… hearing loss affects the whole family. Point out conversations and interactions that could have been better if the person could hear what others were saying.
8. Provide Moral Support: Sometimes, the hardest part is going to the first ENT appointment. Offer to help your loved one schedule an appointment, then make yourself available to attend if they would like support in the doctor’s office. Having another person in the room can help the patient feel more relaxed about the visit. You might even schedule a hearing test for yourself so you can be tested alongside your loved one, which can make them more comfortable with this process.
Why are People Resistant to Hearing Aids?
When people have blurry vision, it is normal to schedule an exam with an eye doctor to get prescription lenses that correct the eyesight. Hearing can also be improved with assistive products, but it seems to be a different story when it comes to the idea of wearing hearing aids.
If you are trying to encourage a loved one to get a hearing test, it can be helpful to understand their protests – and you should offer information that will soothe their concerns. Here are some of the reasons why people are hesitant or unwilling to schedule a hearing test, as well as ways that you can be prepared for these common objections:
Price: There is a misconception that hearing aids are expensive. Yes, it requires an investment to get the custom-fit hearing aids that are needed. But can you put a price tag on the many ways life improves when hearing is enhanced?
Doctor Visits: Some people don’t like visiting the doctor, so they don’t schedule an appointment unless they are sick. The truth is that a hearing test is a painless way to evaluate the function of the ears.
Comfort and Appearance: The idea of wearing hearing aids might sound uncomfortable. Also, some people are worried about how their ears will look when wearing hearing aids. These concerns are minor due to the way technology has advanced to create small equipment.
Age: Some patients assume they are too young to experience hearing loss. But the truth is that these hearing problems can happen to people of all ages, races, and gender. Yes, hearing loss is often associated with old age. Other lifestyle factors and environmental noise can induce hearing loss, which is why people of all ages should have an annual hearing test.
When to Talk to an Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist
How do you know when it is time to encourage your family member to talk to an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist about hearing loss? Have you noticed that the person is often asking others to speak up, they always turn up the volume too loud on the TV, or they withdraw from conversations because they can’t understand the words? These are all signs of hearing loss.
When your family member is ready to schedule a hearing test, then you can get started by scheduling a visit with an ENT in the North Dallas area. Our team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is just a phone call away if you have questions about hearing loss. Reach out to schedule an appointment at one of our local offices in Frisco and Plano, TX: (972) 596-4005