Hearing loss is something many of us will have to deal with as we age. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 experience hearing loss, and nearly half of all Americans older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
If you are caring for a parent, grandparent or elderly relatives, you should watch for the following warning signs that may indicate they are suffering from hearing loss:
- They will frequently ask you to repeat what said.
- They will increase the sound on the TV to an uncomfortably loud volume in order to hear it clearly.
- When meeting someone for the first time, they don’t seem to hear the person, even though he or she is speaking clearly.
- Their hearing loss is a frequent source of arguments with friends or family members.
- They can’t hear important sounds, such as the alarm clock, oven timer, cell phone notifications, construction vehicles or car alarms.
- They have trouble hearing phone conversations, particularly cell phone conversations or calls with a lot of background noise.
- They avoid friends and social situations because they are embarrassed or feel left out of conversations.
Hearing loss doesn’t simply affect your loved one’s physical health, it can also impact his or her emotional health and social well-being. It is important to recognize hearing loss when the signs first occur, so they can be treated. There are plenty of hearing professionals in your area who are available to help.
Hearing loss can often be effectively treated by wearing hearing aids. Those with age-related hearing loss typically gain substantial benefits by wearing hearing aids and can continue their normal routines. Being engaged socially with friends, family and their community, for example, is crucial for the overall health of seniors.
Johns Hopkins University has shown that hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline, memory loss, clinical depression, as well as an increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, the use of hearing aids has been shown to reverse or prevent many of these issues.
If you are caring for an older relative, you can be of tremendous help if this individual is suffering from hearing loss. For example, you can contact a hearing professional in your area to arrange hearing tests and explore treatment options.
It’s also imperative, however, that your loved one takes the initiative and is honest about his or her degree of hearing loss. Your loved one will also have to agree to testing and to wearing hearing aids regularly.
Hearing aids are a critical investment in your loved one’s health and well-being. If his or her health care insurance doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids, financing can help.
Ultimately, you will be helping your loved one regain a healthy social life so he or she can positively interact with friends and family members again.