Convincing Your Elderly Relatives to Have a Hearing Test
Sometimes it’s a matter of pride. No one likes to admit that they’re getting old and struggling with their hearing. A study in 1995 indicated that it takes up to ten years for the average person to acknowledge their hearing loss and seek help. Meanwhile, the lives of your elderly relatives can be affected. Issues such as social isolation, cognitive function and basic health and safety can all become a problem. So, how would you go about persuading your nearest and dearest to go for a hearing test? Here are six good ways to start.
Checking for Earwax Build-Up Before a Hearing Test
Excess earwax can cause hearing loss. As GP surgeries no longer routinely offer earwax removal, then it makes sense to refer your loved ones to a hearing clinic that does. Many will offer micro-suction earwax removal or a traditional irrigation method. The audiologist will determine whether the hearing loss is a result of earwax build-up or has some other underlying cause. It will then be much easier for your relatives to accept that a hearing test is necessary if it is advised by a hearing expert.
Referencing Cases of Friends and Relatives
It is far easier to accept the need for a hearing test or subsequent treatment if your relatives can witness the benefits. If possible use examples of friends, relatives or members of peer groups. Your father, for example, may find it easier to accept the need for a hearing test if his golf club secretary has been through the process. Ask respected former work colleagues, friends or other relatives if they are happy to explain the process. If they can detail the improvements they have experienced to their quality of life, then so much the better. Sometimes it is just the fear of the unknown that will prevent your loved ones from taking action. This may help with their concerns.
Explain How it Inconveniences Others
It may seem that your relatives are stubborn in refusing to accept their hearing loss. However, it may be the stigma attached to advancing years that is most troubling for them. Try explaining how, for example, it makes you feel when trying to communicate. Tell them how difficult it is to get them to answer the door or the telephone. If appropriate, you could also tell them how concerned you are because they might not hear a smoke alarm or other warning. Your loved ones will typically be more responsive if they understand how their hearing loss affects you. They are more likely to agree to a hearing test at this point.
Obtain Marketing Materials for Modern Hearing Aids
Many old perceptions still exist about hearing devices. Some ill-informed people still believe that hearing aids are huge and unwieldy. As well as resembling a behind-the-ear banana, many believe that they still emit loud whistles. By committing to a hearing test your elderly relatives may believe that they are automatically signing up for cumbersome hearing aids. Modern hearing devices are discreet. Advances in technology mean that many are almost invisible and silent too. Manufacturers spent large sums of money on marketing material and websites that show clever designs and advanced functions. Speak with your local audiologist and ask how they can help.
Free Trial of Hearing Aids
Some patients will baulk at the idea of a hearing test because they are unsure of how they will cope with hearing aids. Imagine if they could try the hearing devices before they commit to buying them. Knowing that they can try the hearing device for size and witness the obvious improvements in sound quality will make the idea of a hearing test less worrying. Some independent audiologists will offer a short trial of hearing aids as part of their service.
Home Visits for Hearing Tests
Your elderly relatives may lack full mobility. If you add to this the stress of travelling to a hearing clinic, you may struggle to get them to commit. Check with your audiologist to see if they offer home visits for hearing tests. The whole process will be less stressful if it can be undertaken in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
Above all seek advice. Your local independent audiologist will be able to give help and advice on the sensitive handling of issues surrounding hearing loss.