Isolated. Misunderstood. Excluded. These are only a few of the numerous emotions which might be prevalent in individuals with hearing loss, who find it hard to continue to keep social connections with friends and family members, who struggle to communicate with them.
For the elderly, hearing loss is rather common, for an assortment of reasons: genetics, a lifetime of accrued damage from noise, disease, and the aging process itself. And while frustrating when attempting to join in discussions, hearing loss may also be hazardous, leading to missed information from health care professionals, warnings, doorbells, and alarms that are not heard, and more. Furthermore, untreated hearing loss places older adults at a greater risk for being diagnosed with dementia, as cognitive abilities decline at a faster rate.
If you believe an older loved one might be having difficulties with hearing issues, review the following checklist of hearing loss red flags:
- Complaining of others mumbling
- Turning the TV or radio up to volumes that bother others
- Routinely asking others to repeat what was stated
- Struggling in particular with hearing women’s and children’s voices
- Becoming lost in discussions with more than two people
- Problems hearing over the telephone
To better communicate with someone with hearing loss, try these guidelines:
- Speak clearly, at a reasonable pace, while facing the individual and sustaining eye contact
- Use gestures as well as other nonverbal cues together with your words
- Minimize background sounds and distractions
- Remain patient, relaxed, and positive
- If requested to repeat something, try utilizing different words
There are a number of helpful adaptive devices available that your loved one’s physician may recommend, including:
- Hearing aids: With several different kinds available, make sure your senior loved one asks for a trial period prior to investing in one particular hearing aid, as insurance may not cover the cost, and they are usually expensive.
- Cochlear implants: These electronic devices are suitable for those with severe hearing loss, but they are not effective with all types of hearing loss, and may also need to be supplemented with additional adaptations, such as blinking doorbell lights or vibrating smoke detector alarms.
- OTC options: Those diagnosed with mild or moderate hearing loss could find relief from new over-the-counter hearing devices that amplify sounds; soon to be for sale online and in stores.
The following resources can provide more information and assistance for individuals experiencing hearing loss:
Hearing Loss Association of America
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
At-Home Care Company, the leaders in independent living home care in Ames and the surrounding areas, can also offer invaluable help to those with hearing loss in many ways, such as suggestions for adaptive devices, transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and procedures, friendly companionship to stave off loneliness, and so much more. Email us today or give us a call at (515) 292-2650 for more information on our specialized in-home assistance which makes life safer and much more comfortable and enjoyable, as well as for additional hearing loss resources.