Having a family member begin to lose his or her hearing can be a challenge, but it's hardly a rarity; almost one in four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 experiences hearing loss, and this issue is even more prevalent in those over the age of 75. When someone around you struggles to hear, it's important that you don't get frustrated. Instead, gently suggest that the person might benefit from a hearing test. Instead of just blurting out that a hearing test seems necessary, it's polite to take a tactful approach to avoid making the person feel badly about an area that might already be sensitive for them. Here are the steps to take.
Keep Track Of Examples
Before you take action by discussing the person's hearing with him or her, try to document instances in which you noticed that the person appeared to have difficulty hearing clearly. Keeping a short list of these events can help to reinforce your helpful message later on, but take care to avoid your examples sounding hurtful. Present them from the angle of honoring the person's best interests. For example, you could say that you noticed the family member appeared to have trouble hearing some conversations around the table at a family get-together, which made you concerned that he or she was missing out on a happy moment.
Find The Right Time To Talk
It's never ideal to get frustrated when the family member struggles to hear and blurt out your feelings in front of others. Rather, find a quiet time to bring up this subject with your loved one. Say that you've noticed that the person has appeared to have difficulty hearing clearly at certain times and cite a couple of the examples from your list. Kindly ask whether the person has noticed that his or her hearing isn't what it used to be and how this makes the person feel. Show empathy by saying that you're sorry the person is going through the problem and gently ask if you could schedule an appointment for a hearing test on his or her behalf.
Show Support Along The Way
Instead of booking a hearing test and telling the person to attend the appointment, pledge to go to the appointment together. If you feel that your hearing isn't up to par, book your own hearing test as an act of solidarity. Often, someone with hearing difficulties can have trouble accepting this situation and moving forward by booking a hearing test and getting hearing aids, but your support can gently nudge this person in the right direction. At the appointment, the hearing expert will be able to thoroughly diagnose the problem and suggest the next steps to take.