Hearing loss can put a strain on relationships of all kinds, especially those closest to us. In fact, the family can experience equal amounts of stress as their loved one who is actually experiencing the hearing loss.
In a 2015 study of hard of hearing people and their communication partners, research revealed that family and partners experienced a similar level of disruption in their lives, pointing to “a restricted social life, increased burden of communication, a poorer quality of life and relationship satisfaction.” 
The dynamic of a mother-child relationship is especially fragile to navigate. Considering the statistics show that people wait on average upwards of seven years to do anything about their hearing loss, your mother could be in denial about her hearing ability.
Even if your mother has accepted her hearing loss, the emotional and physical complications are all very real and present. Do you push your mother to engage more? Do you encourage her to try hearing devices? How can you help her day-to-day without damaging your relationship?
The good news is there are ways to solve these difficult questions, strengthening your relationship and helping your mother hear better in the process. As we celebrate another Mother’s Day, consider these helpful communication tips.
First and foremost, the most practical thing you can do is usually the most difficult—talk to your mother about a.) acknowledging she has a hearing loss and b.) that there are incredibly advanced—and discreet—medical devices that can help her solve some of the issues she may be having.
To soften the conversation to not hurt her feelings, Shari Eberts of Psychology Today suggests treading lightly, leading with the emotional aspect. “…talk about how much you love and miss her. Tell her you still need her to be your mom and in order for her to do that, she needs to address her hearing issues. Everyone wants to be needed. Plus, it is true.”
Eberts also suggests coming to the conversation with a list of pros and cons, unique to your mother’s lifestyle, e.g., how your mother will benefit from hearing devices and how she will not. You can create two separate pros and cons lists, one for a scenario in which your mother tries out hearing devices, and one in which she does nothing. If nothing else, it will be a great exercise in values.
Meanwhile, there are always these tried-and-true communication best practices for keeping your relationship healthy:
- Make sure you’re getting each other’s attention before speaking. A little wave, a little tap, eye contact—every little bit helps.
- Always face each other directly. Even if you don’t realize it, your brain can use lip reading information.
- Lighting is crucial. If you can’t see each other, it’s only harder to understand body language and emotional context.
- Refrain from yelling. It only escalates animosity and stress.
- If you’re not sure if either of you is understanding, make sure to ask.
- Don’t quit the conversation with a ‘never mind’ or ‘forget it’, this only leads to frustration and hurt feelings.
If you think your mother may be suffering from hearing loss, call Precision Hearing at 352-765-8008. today to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
 J Am Acad Audiol. 2015 Feb;26(2):155-82. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.26.2.6.
 HLAA. (2018). Do You Think You Have a Hearing Loss? Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_DoYouThinkYouHave_Hearing-Loss.pdf?pdf=DoYouThink
 Eberts, S. (2018, May 10). What to Do When Your Mother Has Hearing Loss. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/life-hearing-loss/201805/what-do-when-your-mother-has-hearing-loss