Refusing to acknowledge the problem
For an adult son or daughter, it is often a sensitive issue when your parent needs a hearing aid. Many people who have tried talking to a parent about hearing loss have been met with anger and resentment.
Why is this the case? Psychotherapist Margrethe Vadmand offers an answer to this question:
“Hearing loss is just another symptom of ageing that threatens to limit our lifestyle as we grow older. It is difficult to accept that you are no longer the energetic and active person you used to be twenty years ago. Losing your hearing is a big loss. Because of the social consequences, a hearing-impaired person will often retreat from social interactions. And ultimately, a hearing loss may unconsciously activate a fear of death.”
It is also a significant turning point between you and your parent, especially if your parent refuses to acknowledge the physical limitation.
“As parents age and become weaker, they need their children in new ways. This may raise difficult dilemmas such as respecting the privacy of your parents versus interfering when necessary”, explains the psychotherapist.
” However, the adult child should never have to ’parent’ his or her own parents. It is important to address concerns with respect. This means, that adult children should be honest without being condescending or judgmental towards a parent.”
A compassionate approach
“If you are planning a difficult conversation with your dad about getting his hearing checked, it is important that you approach the subject with compassion”, Margrethe Vadmand emphasises.
“When we spend time with the family we grew up with, there is a risk that we fall back into old behavioural patterns. Otherwise, well-functioning adults can act like seven-year old’s in the company of their parents and behave in an unreasonable or demanding manner. The usual boundaries and common courtesies of social interaction are often different in relation to our parents and siblings.”
“If your parent is suffering from hearing loss, it is easy to get annoyed at him, or perhaps even make fun of it. It is important to take a step back and remember that what feels frustrating to you is much worse for the afflicted parent. Hearing is an important part of life and when it is weakened it is important to offer help and support.”