Prevalence of Senior Hearing Loss
One of the most common afflictions for older Americans is hearing loss. This hearing loss typically occurs gradually over the course of a person’s life, so the shift into debilitating hearing loss can be difficult for a person to detect individually. Approximately 2 in 3 people over the age of 75 experience senior hearing loss. Though it is often made light of, senior hearing loss is very serious. Hearing loss can make it difficult for a person to respond to warnings, interact and enjoy conversations with family and friends, and can lead to feelings of isolation
Signs of Senior Hearing Loss
Senior hearing loss can be so gradual that it is unnoticeable to seniors. Unfortunately, very few doctors screen for age related deafness or hearing loss. In fact, only 16% of primary care physicians screened for hearing loss in 2012. Be sure that your aging loved one has their hearing checked annually by their physician. Hearing loss can lead to dementia and depression, so it is important to understand.
Online Hearing Test
If you would like to screen your loved one’s hearing immediately you can administer a hearing test online. This hearing test requires that your computer has either headphones or functional speakers.
How You Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one has hearing loss, encourage them to be vocal about it. Many seniors resign themselves to isolation when they suspect that their hearing is failing. If they know that they have a supportive community who is willing to work and spend the time to learn how to better communicate to them, it can go leagues in making that senior feel supported.
Simple ways communicate with a person who has difficulty hearing:
- Facing the person directly when you are speaking with them so that they can lip read and gain context through emotions
- Speaking louder and more clearly to the person with a hearing difficulty
- Turn off TVs, Radios, and any other distracting background noise if you are trying to have a conversation
- Be aware of situations that can make hearing difficult such as restaurants, concerts, or festivals
Hire an Independent Caregiver
If you fear that your loved one who is hard of hearing may not be receiving adequate social stimulation it may be time to hire a professional senior caregiver. The majority of senior caregivers are trained and able to communicate easily with people who experience hearing loss. When a senior is unable to communicate frequently it can increase their risk of developing dementia.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with the loss of their hearing be sure that you are there to support them in every way that you can. Losing one of your vital senses can be a scary experience to go through alone, but with the help of supportive family and friends the transition can be manageable.
Senior hearing loss is important!
Be sure that you keep tabs on your aging loved one’s hearing status. In order to get an understanding of where your loved one stands, use our hearing health assessment worksheet.
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