How to ensure a constructive conversation?
As our hearing declines, we tend to cut off from our surroundings involuntarily. This has a tremendous impact on our personal relations. Worst case, this can lead to isolation and loneliness.
So, what can you do as a relative if you want a family member to go and get their hearing checked?
Our family expert has 5 important tips.
The timing is very important when you plan to start that difficult conversation. Try to find a time when he is in a good mood and you yourself feel up to the task with a calm frame of mind.
Take care not to sound condescending and all-knowing as this will no doubt have a negative effect. Making fun of the problem won’t help either. The best approach is to explain your frustration without being critical and without having all the answers ready.
3. Explain how you see things and ask both open-ended and closed-ended questions
Try to explain things as you see them and investigate how you experience the problem while you focus on the other person. Start with open-ended question such as: “Yesterday, when we were all together, I felt that you weren’t really part of the conversation. Was that just me, or am I on to something here?” Follow up with a closed-ended question such as: “Do you find it difficult to hear what we are saying?”
By asking open-ended questions, you show an interest and invite to reflection. In this connection, pausing between questions is a good idea. Give the other person time to reflect, rather than barging in with a bunch of solutions.
4. Keep the ball in your own court
Think before you speak. Remember to pause between questions and keep the ball in your own court. It is okay to voice your own frustrations and explain how the hearing loss affects you and your mutual relationship.
One way of expressing this could be:
”It might not be a problem for you, but I really want to continue having great conversations with you, so it’s important for me that you can hear me. Otherwise we won’t be able to keep up our conversations and that makes me really sad.”
In this way you focus on how it affects you (keeping the ball in your own court) and not blaming your husband.
5. Show understanding
It is important that your husband feels understood and accepted. You can express this by saying something like:
“It must be difficult to accept that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. Obviously, it is your decision whether you want to try if a hearing aid might help you. Now you know how I feel about it and my hope is that you will at least consider it. Will you give it some thought, please?”
Written by Charlotte Haase