Isolated. Misunderstood. Excluded. These are just some of the many emotions which are prevalent in those with hearing loss, who find it hard to continue to maintain social connections with friends and family members, who struggle to communicate with them.
Hearing problems in seniors is rather common, for a number of reasons: genetics, a lifetime of accrued damage from noise, disease, plus the aging process itself. And while frustrating when trying to participate in discussions, hearing loss may also be dangerous, leading to missed information given by health care professionals, warnings, doorbells, and alarms which are not heard, and more. On top of that, untreated hearing loss places seniors at a greater danger for being diagnosed with dementia, as cognitive abilities decline at a greater speed.
If you think an older loved one could possibly be dealing with hearing issues, review the following list of hearing loss red flags:
- Complaining of other people muttering
- Turning the TV or radio up to volumes that annoy others
- Often asking others to repeat what was said
- Struggling especially with hearing women’s and children’s voices
- Getting lost in conversations with more than two people
- Trouble hearing on the telephone
To better communicate with a senior with hearing loss, try these suggestions:
- Speak clearly, at a reasonable pace, while facing your senior loved one and keeping eye contact
- Use gestures as well as other nonverbal cues together with your words
- Decrease background noises and potential distractions
- Remain patient, relaxed, and positive
- When asked to repeat something, try using different words
There are a variety of useful adaptive devices on the market that your loved one’s doctor may recommend, including:
- Hearing aids: With many different kinds available, make sure your loved one requests a trial period prior to committing to one particular hearing aid, as insurance may not cover the cost, and they are usually expensive.
- Cochlear implants: These electronic devices are ideal for individuals with severe hearing loss, but are not effective with all types of hearing loss, and may need to be supplemented with additional adaptations, such as blinking doorbell lights or vibrating smoke detector alarms.
- OTC options: People diagnosed with mild or moderate hearing loss might discover relief from new over-the-counter hearing devices that amplify sounds; soon to be available for purchase online and in stores.
The following resources can offer more information and help for someone experiencing hearing loss:
Hearing Loss Association of America
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Inspired Home Care, providers of expert in home care in Algonquin and the surrounding area, can also provide invaluable assistance to those with hearing loss in many ways, including tips for adaptive devices, transportation and accompaniment to healthcare appointments and procedures, friendly companionship to stave off loneliness, and so much more. Email or call us today at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our specialized in-home assistance that makes life safer and more comfortable and enjoyable, and for additional hearing loss resources.