The age-old joke of an older person bending their ear, saying, “eh,” “eh,” because they can’t hear what is being said may be a bit exaggerated, but it does showcase how hearing loss can worsen with age.
However, loss of hearing is not confined to one age group — it can happen to young and old alike. Our hearing can worsen with age either due to illness, heredity, aging or exposure to loud noises. You may have noticed that mom, dad or Aunt Sally has missed parts of conversations, can’t hear the doorbell any longer or often needs to raise the volume on the television or radio to where it’s at an uncomfortable decibel level. Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, including head injuries, viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or strokes. Certain medications can also cause our hearing to deteriorate.
There’s No Problem Here
You may find that your loved one is unwilling to admit there is an issue with their hearing. Instead of admitting they didn’t hear what you said, they will claim that you never said it in the first place or become confused, agitated, withdrawn or confrontational. In fact, one out of every three seniors who cannot hear well will withdraw from social situations and become depressed. They avoid getting tested for hearing loss because they either feel it will confirm their worst fears or they choose not to deal with some of the issues their friends may have had with their hearing aids.
We’ve heard from many families about this particular subject, but one that sticks out in my mind is Dennis. His daughter, Stephany, who lives close by, tried every angle she could to get Dennis to see an audiologist about his hearing, or lack thereof. But Dennis was stubborn and would not admit that there was an issue. Stephany went as far as ordering a phone that could amplify the incoming call. Dennis thanked her and then promptly returned it. Stephany became more and more concerned about leaving her father alone. She was afraid he wouldn’t hear the smoke alarm if it went off or would not hear that someone was at the door. She asked us to provide a home caregiver so that someone could be with Dennis. We matched Dennis with someone who we felt could handle his personality. Our caregiver got along famously with Dennis. She also shared that her mother had recently gone for a hearing test and although she thought she would hate her new hearing aid; she loved it because it made her realize how much she was missing. Dennis listened but didn’t say anything. However, about two weeks later, he mentioned to Stephany that he wouldn’t mind going for a hearing test just to prove to Stephany that his hearing was fine. The audiologist found significant hearing loss in both ears and fit Dennis for a hearing aid that was virtually invisible.
Studies have shown that hearing-impaired individuals who wear hearing-aids participate in many more social activities than those who don’t.
We can’t guarantee that our caregivers will be able to cajole clients into going to doctor appointments, but we can tell you that your loved one will be cared for and treated as if they were a member of our family.
Four Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing aids aren’t the only solution, although they are the most common one. To help you determine if your family member is experiencing hearing loss, watch out for these signs:
- Thinks people mumble
- Has a more difficult time hearing softer voices (women’s and children’s)
- Needs to turn up the volume to the point where others complain of its loudness
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Luxe has the Gentle Touch
We pride ourselves on matching caregivers with clients. Our caregivers understand how to speak to an individual with hearing loss in a caring and loving manner. Some of the steps they take include:
- Acknowledging that they know about the client’s hearing loss and that’s it’s okay.
- Speaking to them face-to-face so that the individual can see their facial expressions and read their lips
- Including the individual in group conversations
- Encouraging the client to tell them when they didn’t understand something that was said
- Avoiding holding conversations in loud environments