The nurse takes your father’s blood pressure, it’s a little high but she says it’s “ok”. A few minutes later the doctor walks in and starts asking question you don’t know the answers to. Your dad leans in closer, you see him trying to read lips, you repeat the doctor’s questions louder so your dad can hear. That’s when it occurs to you why your mother won’t let him go alone. He has so much trouble hearing these days, he has to have a chaperone. This is not why you took the day off of work. Something has to change.
First Things First
You, being the research guru of the family, go online and learn all you can about hearing loss. You can’t believe you didn’t notice sooner. One in three people over 65 have some degree of hearing loss. Armed with the facts you feel confident that you can help.
Choosing the Right Time To Talk About Hearing Loss
Granted, your dad is not going to be comfortable accepting help from his child. He’s been a proud father, provider, protector and now a fun grandpa. Keep those points in mind when discussing how his hearing loss is affecting his life. Now is not the time to explain the technology available in today’s hearing devices. It’s going to be pretty tempting to bring up the talk to text feature but please refrain.
Using phrases like “the kids want to share their stories from school with you” and “Dan from your bowling league wouldn’t want you to miss out on his corny jokes” will be a more efficient tactic. Focus on how treating his hearing loss will improve his life. If things are going smoothly, you might even mention that better hearing will help him to feel less isolated (like he did at the doctor’s office) and can even help ward off depression.
The Next Step
Your parents will agree. It might take them some time to realize what a compelling case you’ve made, but it will happen. The next step is to visit an audiologist and have a formal hearing test done. This can seem intimidating but it’s an important factor in customizing the listening device. Here’s the part that you can be most helpful. Go with your dad to his hearing test so that when the audiologist places demo hearing aids on his ears, he can hear a voice he is familiar with— yours. When presented with a few recommendations from the audiologist, you can also help narrow down the selection to the right one for him. The audiologist will personalize the hearing aid specifically to your dad’s hearing loss and will also assist in demonstrating proper usage.
Now see how easy that was? Yes, it seemed like a huge problem when you first discovered the need, but now look. How long has it been since you’ve sat next to your dad and talked, really communicated? Too long. Watching him interact with your mother and teasing his friends again makes all your effort justified. Now how do you tell your mom that nobody likes her green bean casserole?!