Part 2: The Hearing Aid Conversation
Last week, we provided tips on how to determine if your loved one should be concerned about their hearing. This week, we offer the following five tips to help you convince them to schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional (HCP) to have their hearing formally tested, and if needed get hearing aids:
- Address preconceptions. Many people object to the idea of wearing hearing aids because they still think of them as large, squealing, uncomfortable, beige “bananas” like their parents or grandparents wore. Of course, that’s far from the case today. Hearing aids disappear discreetly behind or into the ear, and can be adjusted to eliminate whistling, also known as “feedback.” Even the more visible options are still tiny, sleek, and stylish, available in a wide variety of colors, and fit so comfortably many people forget they’re wearing them. They’re also extremely high-tech, with capabilities that include Bluetooth®-compatible streaming, and hearing aid control via a smartphone.
- Try this: Compare wearing hearing aids to wearing glasses, which also used to be very unattractive, clunky, and embarrassing but today are lightweight and considered fashionable accessories.
- Confront excuses. How many times have you heard this: “It’s not my hearing, it’s X who mumbles all the time!” Don’t let that excuse end your conversation. Many people with hearing loss lose their ability to understand speech even when it’s delivered at normal or louder volume. This only worsens when they’re trying to converse in noisy environments like crowded restaurants.
- Try this: Explain that hearing aids don’t just make everything louder. They can also clarify speech you want to hear while suppressing interfering background noise.
- Be honest. The most common pushback received is that wearing hearing aids will make someone appear past their prime ― in a word, old. But the truth is wearing discreet hearing aids and conversing normally actually has the opposite effect, especially at work or when out in a crowd.
- Try this: Explain that people who can’t participate in conversations or have to keep asking others to repeat themselves are the ones who seem “old”. Most won’t know or care if someone’s wear hearing aids.
- Technology is cool. Smart hearing aids recognize multiple listening situations (e.g., in the car, in a crowd, or outside in wind) and adapt their performance automatically. They can even learn a wearer’s listening preferences. Whether talking on the telephone, in person to a friend, listening to music, or watching television, advanced wireless technology ensures hearing aids work together as one system to adjust volume and provide clarity. High-tech Signia hearing aids have been clinically proven to deliver better than normal hearing in challenging environments and reduce listening effort, so wearers can hear even better than people without hearing loss.*
- Try this: Hearing aids have gotten so smart, they can be adjusted by remote control or app, and stream sound from Bluetooth®-enabled PCs, TVs, smartphones, and more, transforming them into wireless headsets.
- Quality of life. Multiple studies have examined the negative effects of untreated hearing loss on a person’s mental and physical health. Hearing loss has been linked to an increased likelihood of anxiety, stress, and depression (mental) and dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and risk of falling (physical).
- Try This: Make it clear that getting hearing aids is about more than just hearing. For a long, healthy life treating hearing loss is more than a nice idea ― it’s a necessity.