While the family is together for Thanksgiving it is a great time to address their hearing. It is when people are with family that they can really notice the problems they are having with communication because they are not hearing. While together, pay attention to your parents behavior. Do they join in conversations? Maybe your dad chooses to watch TV rather than converse with the family. Perhaps your mother likes to keep herself busy in the kitchen, while she makes you sit down and enjoy the company. When one has a hearing loss it is easier for them to avoid the conversation rather than participate. If they are in on the conversation, do they monopolize it? That is one way to avoid having to answer any misunderstood questions.
What is the conversation like during Thanksgiving Dinner? How many times do you have to ask your dad to pass the potatoes? Or did he think you said tomatoes? Do you need to raise your voice to get them to hear? Do they always talk loud? This is common because they can't hear their own voice. How often do you have to repeat?
Let's not forget the football game. Does your dad always have to ask you for the score? Does your mom fall asleep in her chair in spite of all the cheering and yelling? She would have to have a hearing loss if she is able to sleep through all that noise.
As you observe these things happening, it is a good time to point them out while the frustrating situations are fresh in their mind. This is a good time to suggest your parents have their hearing tested to see if hearing aids might improve their listening situations. This may very well be the best time to encourage them to get help. Family support in purchasing hearing aids helps a great deal during the decision making process. You may want to suggest that you will go with them to their hearing test appointment.
Since hearing tends to decline gradually, your parents may not even notice that they have a hearing loss. They just may need you and other family members to point it out. Many people who know they need hearing aids put it off thinking they are too old for the investment. They often do not want to purchase hearing aids as they do not want to spend their children's inheritance. You may need to assure them that they are not too old to get hearing aids and that you want to enjoy your time with them while they are still alive.
If you need to have your parents listening faux pas be the catalyst to get hearing help, Thanksgiving Weekend will be a great time to point them out. If they are already considering hearing aids as an option, I encourage them to try hearing aids virtually Risk FREE over the Thanksgiving Holiday.
By Susan L. Fenrich, BC-HIS, Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist, Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences
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