Is your senior loved one experiencing hearing loss?
A change in hearing function can be frustrating and the one experiencing these changes can feel isolated and depressed. With so many advancements in healthcare, impairment in hearing functions can be corrected with a variety of hearing solutions.
Do you have a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss? Maybe your senior parents or grandparents are finding It difficult to listen or hear properly when someone is speaking to them? Do you find yourself speaking a little louder when you are talking to your senior loved ones?
These could be some of the signs that your parents, grandparents, or senior relatives are experiencing changes in their hearing function.
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can occur due to a variety of reasons. Hearing loss that occurs gradually with age is known as presbycusis. It generally happens between the ages of 65 and 75 but not everyone goes through these changes. Hearing loss can occur and involve the outer or middle ear, inner ear, or a combination of the two.
The natural aging process can lead to hearing loss, but loud noises are also one of the leading causes of hearing changes.
What are some of the common symptoms of hearing loss?
- Muffling of speech and other sounds
- Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd
- Trouble hearing consonants
- Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
- Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
- Withdrawal from conversations
- Avoidance of some social settings
All these are signs that your parents, grandparents, or senior relatives are experiencing changes to their hearing functions. As a family member, relative or caregiver, what can you do to help seniors with hearing loss?
Here are some tips to make them feel comfortable so they can cope with this new change:
Let your family members know:
As a caregiver, let your family members know so they are aware of the situation. If you are caring for a loved one as a caregiver, involve your family members and let them know so gatherings do not become awkward for the one who is suffering from hearing loss. Maybe your senior loved one is sitting among family members and finds it hard to understand when someone is speaking to them? This change can make a person feel unwanted, uncomfortable, and conscious. Cooperation from immediate family members can help reduce the chances of misunderstandings and feelings of awkwardness.
Maintain eye contact:
Maintaining eye contact when speaking to a person helps them feel confident, especially if they are unable to listen easily. Looking at them and addressing them by their name also helps get their attention. If your loved one hears better with one of the ears, move to that side to speak so they can understand. When someone finds it difficult to hear, it can give rise to feelings of incompetence or insecurity. Family members or caregivers should speak respectfully and openly by rephrasing sentences if the elderly parent or grandparent finds it difficult to understand.
While at home we tend to speak when the T.V is on. Background noise tends to muffle sounds for those who find it hard to hear. As a caregiver or family member of a senior loved one, try to eliminate background noise or chatter when speaking to them. When you speak clearly without any noise in the background, it makes it easier for the other person to understand.
You can also use hands and facial expressions while talking to cope with these changes. Try to complete the sentence with the same enunciation and avoid lowering your voice at the end of your phrase. This will help your loved one understand what you say. Whether your senior loved one is in home care or a nursing care facility, these helpful tips can make them feel at ease.
Get a proper diagnosis:
Getting a proper diagnosis from a specialist will help put your senior loved one at ease. Getting to know the reasons, exploring solutions, and finding tips can help both the caregiver and the senior. Although hearing aids can not restore the normal hearing, they can help increase awareness of sound. A doctor or specialist can determine if a hearing aid will be helpful. And if they think it can help your senior parents or grandparents, they can also suggest which hearing aids will be most beneficial for them.
Help them feel at ease:
If you are a caregiver, it may be frustrating at times to deal with hearing loss. But it is even more difficult for those who are going through it. Patience is key when it comes to conversing with someone who is having hearing difficulties. It is very common for people to ignore this condition before they go to the doctor or accept that they need a hearing aid. Caregiver support and support from family members is important when it comes to these situations.
Hearing loss in seniors has been linked to stress, isolation, tension, anger, and irritability. Showing understanding, helping them feel normal, and being respectful can help everyone navigate through this condition.
Do you care for someone who is experiencing hearing loss? Can you share some tips with us? Leave a comment and let us know!