Isolated. Misunderstood. Excluded. These are several of the countless emotions which may be common in seniors with hearing impairment and loss, struggling to still maintain social connections with friends and loved ones, who find it difficult to communicate with them.
For aging parents, hearing loss is fairly common, for a variety of reasons: genetics, a lifetime of accrued damage from noise, disease, or simply the process of aging itself. And while frustrating when wanting to join in conversations, hearing loss can also be dangerous, leading to missed information given by physicians, warnings, doorbells, and alarms which are not heard, and so much more. Furthermore, untreated hearing loss places older adults at an increased chance for being diagnosed with dementia, as cognitive abilities decrease at a quicker rate.
If you think an older loved one could be having difficulties with hearing issues, review the following list of hearing loss warning flags:
- Complaining that others are muttering
- Turning the TV or radio up to volumes that annoy others
- Frequently asking others to reiterate what was said
- Struggling in particular with hearing women’s and children’s voices
- Becoming lost in discussions with more than two people
- Difficulty hearing over the phone
To better communicate with an individual with hearing loss, try these suggestions:
- Speak clearly, at a reasonable pace, while facing the individual and maintaining eye contact
- Use gestures as well as other nonverbal cues in combination with your words
- Reduce background sounds and potential distractions
- Stay patient, relaxed, and positive
- If requested to repeat something, try using different words
There are a variety of helpful adaptive products available that your loved one’s doctor may recommend, including:
- Hearing aids: With several different types available, be sure your senior loved one requests a trial period prior to committing to a particular hearing aid, as insurance may not cover the cost, and they are often very costly.
- Cochlear implants: These electronic devices are ideal for those diagnosed with severe hearing loss; however, they are not effective with all types of hearing loss, and may need to be supplemented with devices such as flashing 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 products that amplify sounds.
The following resources can offer additional information and help for someone experiencing hearing loss:
Hearing Loss Association of America
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Anthem Home Care, one of the top-rated Corpus Christi home health agencies, can also offer invaluable help to those with hearing loss, such as recommendations for adaptive devices, transportation and accompaniment to healthcare appointments and procedures, friendly companionship to stave off loneliness, and many others. Call us today at 361-643-2323 for more information on our professional in-home assistance that makes life safer and much more comfortable and enjoyable, and for additional hearing loss resources.