Isolated. Misunderstood. Left out. These are just a few of the emotions that are prevalent in people who experience hearing loss with age, who struggle to continue to keep social connections with friends, and family members who find it difficult to communicate with them.
Hearing loss with age is quite prevalent, for a variety of reasons: genetics, a lifetime of accumulated damage from noise, disease, and the aging process itself. And while frustrating when attempting to join in conversations, hearing loss can be dangerous, leading to missed information provided by doctors, alerts, doorbells, and alarms which are unheard, and so much more. Additionally, untreated hearing loss places older adults at an increased risk for developing dementia, as cognitive capabilities decrease at a faster speed.
If you think a senior loved one could be struggling with hearing issues, review the following checklist of hearing loss warning flags:
- Complaining of other people muttering
- Turning the television or radio up to volumes that disturb others
- Often asking others to repeat what was stated
- Struggling, especially with hearing women’s and children’s voices
- Becoming lost in conversations with more than two people
- Problems hearing over the telephone
To better communicate with a senior with hearing loss, try these strategies:
- Speak clearly, at a reasonable pace, while facing the senior and maintaining eye contact
- Use gestures and other nonverbal cues in combination with your words
- Cut down on background noises and distractions
- Remain patient, relaxed, and positive
- When requested to repeat something, try using different words
There are a number of useful adaptive products readily available that your loved one’s physician may recommend. For example:
- Hearing aids: With several types available, make sure your senior loved one requests a trial period ahead of committing to one particular hearing aid, as insurance may not cover the price, and they are usually expensive.
- Cochlear implants: These electronic devices are appropriate for individuals diagnosed with severe hearing loss, but are not effective with all types of hearing loss, and may have to be supplemented with additional adaptations, like blinking doorbell lights or vibrating smoke detector alarms.
- OTC options: People diagnosed with mild or moderate hearing loss might find relief from new over-the-counter hearing products that amplify sounds; soon to be available for purchase on the internet and in stores.
The following resources can provide more information and help for individuals experiencing hearing loss:
Hearing Loss Association of America
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Home With You Senior Care can also offer invaluable assistance to those with hearing loss in a variety of ways, such as offering suggestions for adaptive devices, friendly companionship to stave off loneliness, and more. Email or call us today at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our professional home care in Baltimore, MD and the surrounding communities which can make life safer and much more enjoyable for a senior you love.