Recently a friend bluntly told me: “You need a hearing aide.” Just like that. Out of the blue. In my face. It was like being punched in the gut. To illustrate her point she cited an example in which I was leading a prayer during a religious service while she was whispering to me to recite the passage differently. I heard her comment but chose to ignore it because I didn’t want to appear incoherent to the congregation. When I explained that to her, she countered by stating that other instances had led her to conclude that I needed an apparatus. She didn’t elucidate.
My efforts at rebuttal were cut short by her stating that “De-nial” is a river in Egypt. Ha ha. In a feeble attempt to mollify me, she said that she wouldn’t have told me this if she didn’t care for me so much. Gee, thanks.
Now I understand how older persons must feel when a younger relative, colleague, or friend “helps out” by stating they need to do this or change that. It can be a shocker. Sharing a well-meaning suggestion like getting a hearing aid or losing weight or having one’s eyes checked needs to be tempered with “have you considered…” or “ has anyone mentioned….” or “have you experienced any… lately.”
Somehow the senior has to feel a part of the conversation not the target of the conversation. The next time I want to ‘share’ a thought like that, I will frame my comment with care removing any possibility of sting or hurt.