Each May, people around the country gather to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the loving mothers in their family. To celebrate, we hold picnics and brunches or just spend a quiet afternoon with mom enjoying some fresh spring air. But, while Mother’s Day is supposed to be a special and relaxing celebratory occasion, things can feel a bit different if your mother recently started wearing hearing aids.
Although you might have originally encouraged your mother to seek help from a hearing healthcare professional and you supported her when she decided to get hearing aids, you might not know precisely what steps you can take to help her feel like part of the conversation. To help you make Mother’s Day memorable despite your loved one’s hearing loss, we’ve prepared a number of tips and suggestions to make sure she knows how much you value her.
Get Her Flowers
But, when you do, be sure you don’t place them right in the middle of the brunch table. Sounds like a small detail? Consider that it’s much easier to understand what someone is saying when you’re looking at them, as you can see their lips move.
Even if you or your mother aren’t expert lip readers, keeping large floral centerpieces off of the table can ensure that she has a clear line of sight of everyone’s face at brunch. This can make the difference between her feeling left out of the group and making her feel like an important part of the conversation. Mother’s Day is her day, so even the little things are very appreciated.
Positioning Is Everything
As a child, you probably spent quite a bit of time yelling down to your mother from your bedroom or from across the hall. Now that she has a hearing aid, however, such practices are likely to result in misunderstandings and frustration. So, try not to shout at her from another room.
We touched on this a bit in the last tip, but try to position yourself so that you’re face-to-face with your mother with nothing blocking her view of your mouth. Also, be sure to be at eye-level so she doesn’t feel like she’s straining to see and hear you. Both face-to-face and eye-level positioning can make it much easier for her to understand you.
If she has one ear that’s better than the other, it’s worth positioning yourself on her ‘good’ side. This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget.
Remember when your mother used to scold you for having your hands in front of your face while talking? These rules still apply – try your hardest not to block your mouth while talking to your mother so she can see your face. This can be particularly difficult at brunch when you don’t want to speak with food in your mouth, but it’s important to keep in mind.
Speak Clearly And Don’t Shout
No one enjoys being yelled at and that doesn’t change just because you wear hearing aids. If you want to reminisce about funny childhood stories or just ask her what she wants for dinner, you can keep your voice at a normal level. This reduces the stigma she might feel about her hearing loss and can actually help her better understand the conversation.
More importantly, though, be sure to speak clearly when talking to mom. This can be particularly difficult for young grandkids, who like to mumble and race through their stories, so give them a gentle reminder that they’ll want to slow it down and speak clearly to grandma on Mother’s Day.
Be Her Advocate
Above all, this day is about her, so it’s important that you’re there to help her feel special and valued. Stay by her side (or make sure siblings and relatives take turns doing so) and make sure she can understand what’s going on. If you notice that she can’t keep track of a conversation or that she missed the plot of a funny story her grandson is telling, be willing to retell the story or highlight key bits for her.
Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day of celebration and joy, and there are a few steps you can take to make her feel included, whatever the circumstances. If, while enjoying the festivities, you notice that your mother’s hearing aids aren’t doing enough for her, encourage her to contact her hearing healthcare professional for another consultation. The most important thing is that she gets the care she needs so she can keep enjoying Mother’s Day for years to come.