Don’t get me wrong, I love my mum; she is the most important person in my life because everything I am, I owe to her unconditional patience and love. But when I try to tell all this to her over the phone and she asks me about ten times to repeat myself – I simply snap! I snap because she refuses to have her hearing checked, and when I offer to take her to an audiologist and look for hearing aids online with her, she starts arguing with me. At first, I thought she is being stubborn and in denial in her own specific way, but when I talked to my father about it, I understood. She takes the matter rather emotional, which made me feel ashamed for being so pushy.
She is over 65 now, a grandmother and not so able to deal with her everyday life the way she used to; add to all this change the fact that she is well aware that her hearing is getting weaker, it’s pretty understandable why she feels all emotional about it all. She realises that she is really getting old. So when my dad told me that she is afraid of hearing the obvious by an audiologist, I knew I had to change my approach; there were only two options left – either she would come to her senses and get hearing aids, or she would go completely deaf. And Matthew loves his granny’s stories and good-night talks, so there was no way I was going to let the worse happen.
After doing some research of hearing aids online and talking to a few specialists, I developed a strategy on how to convince her to take the examination. My talk was based on few important points which apparently I didn’t take into consideration before:
- Any old person who suffers from hearing loss knows they do. And they don’t want to hear it from anyone else, so not saying it out loud is probably the best thing you could do. Instead, try to tell them that you completely understand what they are going through and that they should not suffer in silence; there are hearing aids that aren’t visible and will make all the difference in the world in their everyday life.
- Do not show frustration when they ask you to repeat yourself (my horrible mistake that lead me to this research and post for that matter). Trust me, their frustration is quite big, a lot bigger than yours. Be kind and patient, and explain to them that better communication is possible and that hearing aids will make everything a lot better.
- Accommodate their needs and don’t protest about the fact that they don’t want to admit that they have a problem or visit the audiologist. They aren’t taking this easy and showing some respect for their decision is the least you can do. So what if you have to tell your mum for the tenth time that you don’t want coffee because you’re leaving? It won’t hurt you, will it?
Bottom line is, when hearing problems come to your door, you’re going to face difficulties in the family; there will be a lot of poor communication, a lot of misunderstanding, and sometimes even arguing. And all that is normal, but at some point you’re going to need to force the idea of getting hearing aids for your mum or dad. You just need to find the right way to explain to them that everything will get a lot easier and better if they accept the unavoidable.