Isolated. Misunderstood. Excluded. These are several of the many emotions which can be prevalent in people with hearing loss, who struggle to continue to keep social connections with friends and family members, who find it difficult to communicate with them.
For seniors, age-related hearing loss is very common, for quite a few reasons: genetics, a lifetime of accumulated damage from noise, disease, as well as the process of getting older itself. And while frustrating when trying to join in conversations, hearing loss can also be hazardous, leading to missed information supplied by health care professionals, warnings, doorbells, and alarms which might be not heard, and more. On top of that, untreated hearing loss places seniors at a greater danger for being diagnosed with dementia, as cognitive capabilities decline at a quicker rate.
If you think an older loved one could be struggling with hearing issues, review the following list of hearing loss red flags:
- Complaining of others mumbling
- Turning the TV or radio up to volumes that bother others
- Often asking others to repeat what was stated
- Struggling especially with hearing women’s and children’s voices
- Getting lost in discussions with more than two people
- Problems hearing over the phone
To better communicate with an individual with hearing loss, try these guidelines:
- Speak clearly, at a reasonable pace, while facing the senior and keeping eye contact
- Use gestures and other nonverbal cues along with your words
- Decrease background noises and distractions
- Stay patient, relaxed, and positive
- When asked to repeat something, try utilizing different words
There are a number of helpful adaptive products readily available that your loved one’s physician may recommend, including:
- Hearing aids: With several different kinds available, make sure your senior loved one requests a trial period before committing to a particular hearing aid, as insurance might not cover the cost, and they can be very costly.
- Cochlear implants: These electronic devices are ideal for individuals diagnosed with severe hearing loss, but they are not effective with all types of hearing loss, and may also need to be supplemented with added adaptations, such as flashing doorbell lights or vibrating smoke detector alarms.
- OTC options: People diagnosed with mild or moderate hearing loss may find relief from new over-the-counter hearing products which amplify sounds; soon to be for sale on the internet and in stores.
The following resources can offer more information and assistance for individuals experiencing hearing loss:
Hearing Loss Association of America
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Compassionate Nursing Services, providers of expert senior home care in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, also offers invaluable help to those with hearing loss, such as suggestions for adaptive devices, transportation and accompaniment to healthcare appointments and procedures, friendly companionship to stave off loneliness, and more. Reach out to us today at 314-432-4312 for additional details on our professional in-home assistance that will make life safer and much more comfortable and enjoyable, and for additional hearing loss resources.