Here is a caution about what not to buy your parents for Christmas. They may struggle to hear properly and you have decided to surprise them with hearing aids for the holidays. Well please don’t do it! Here is the reason why.

Getting hearing aids is a very private process. First, the patient has to recognize their need and be ready to accept the available options to improve their hearing. Sometimes price is not the number one reason why people delay in getting the help they need. Usually denial is the number one reason people put it off.

There are a number of examples where adult children brought their mom or dad to an audiologist for a hearing test. The parent participated in the hearing test and then the kids decided the price, model and color. The delivery for “fitting” went well with the kids excited over every aspect of their parent’s new hearing aids. The kids became distressed that their parents were not actually wearing the hearing aids on a consistent basis, learning this at the one week follow-up appointment. When the patient was asked “Do you want these hearing aids?” The answer was “Nope”. Through these examples we learn that the patient who came with their adult children didn’t want hearing aids.

You may say, but Mom agreed to the hearing test. Agreeing to have a hearing evaluation is not the same as actually wearing hearing aids. Patients enter the diagnostic phase looking for an authority figure to tell them that they do not need hearing aids. The patient may have had many moments of tribulation, frequently the patient is looking for a different explanation or course of action rather than hearing aids. Once the hearing loss is established and recommendation for hearing aids has been made, there are personality factors such as the attitude of control that will not encourage the older patient’s willingness to follow the recommendations made. The desire to appease a family member who insists that the patient have a hearing evaluation may determine the patients visit to the facility. There may not be a sincere willingness to listen to options posed by the audiologist and follow the recommendation to purchase hearing aids.

Family sympathy for a loved one’s hearing loss is admirable. Instead of scheduling them a hearing test and forge a situation where they feel pressured by your push to get the hearing aids, just talk with them about your concerns and offer to help in any way that you can.

It is a proven fact that patients are more consumed to purchase hearing aids before Thanksgiving, Christmas or in the spring for the graduation/wedding season. They remember at the last family event they could not hear well and are contemplating taking the next step to improve their hearing.

A suggestion to the family member is, if price is the problem offer them your help and feel them out on their readiness. But don’t put a hearing aid gift certificate under the Christmas tree! Talk with your parents and express your concern and desire to improve their hearing. If it is not your parent’s idea to have hearing aids they will always ask for a refund within the thirty day trial period. If they need it, help them with the finances, when your parents consider the decision to hear better, but don’t try to make it happen without their desire to have hearing aids.

Hearing care is part of your health care. If you have symptoms of hearing loss you should seek help to find out why. The hearing professional will help you figure out the technology level to meet your need, your budget and answer your questions.

Merry Christmas!