Growing older, illnesses, genetics and loud sounds can all contribute to hearing loss, a prevalent issue among older adults. According to the National Institute on Deafness, close to 50% of older adults aged 75 and above have hearing problems. Furthermore, research has indicated that elderly persons with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than those with unimpaired hearing.
Hearing loss brought on by aging often affects both ears. Those with age-related hearing loss might not be aware that they have lost some of their hearing because the loss is slow and progressive. Typically, it’s the shift in behaviors that indicate hearing loss. You might see that your aging parents regularly turn the television up too high; or conversely, they say that you speak too softly all the time. To assist you with identifying the symptoms early and anticipating hearing loss before its onset, we’ve compiled the most common signs you should watch out for.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss
Many folks don’t recognize when they have a hearing issue. It’s critical for you or your loved one to see a doctor right away for a thorough checkup and medical care if you observe any of these hearing loss indicators:
- Increasing the stereo or television volume excessively.
- Struggling to follow a discussion when more than one person is speaking at once.
- Not comprehending what others are saying and not responding as intended.
- Finding it difficult to endure loud noises.
- Being unable to hear in a loud environment, such as a diner.
- Having trouble listening on the phone.
- Remarking that other folks use slurred or unclear speech.
- Asking others to say things multiple times.
- Having ear pains, ringing (tinnitus), or dizzy spells (vertigo).
- Sudden anti-social behaviour – If somebody who used to be outgoing suddenly avoids being around large gatherings of people, it may be a result of their inability to hear.
The Impact of Hearing Loss
Interactions with family and friends can be challenging for those who suffer hearing loss. Elderly people who have hearing problems may experience depression or social withdrawal as a result of feeling embarrassed or upset about their inability to follow conversations. Sadly, the fact that elderly persons often have trouble hearing sometimes leads to the misconception that they are unfriendly or indifferent. They could also struggle to hear doorbells and alarm clocks, comprehend medical advice, and react to alerts.
Dealing with Hearing Loss
The most crucial thing to do is to consult your local doctor, or a specialist, such as an ear-nose-and-throat doctor (otolaryngologist) for guidance. If your loved one has been diagnosed with hearing loss, Assisted Living can be a good option for them where they can enjoy living independently but have round-the-clock care that accommodates their hearing loss challenges.
Additionally, it’s good to follow these pointers when conversing with them. To minimize background sounds, find a quiet spot. Talk slightly louder than usual, but don’t yell. Enunciate properly while facing them and making eye contact. Converse naturally yet slowly; at a sensible speed. If required, say it again but use different phrasing. Also, stay in a well-lit area, and use your body language and facial expressions to provide nonverbal cues. Above all, practice patience and maintain a calm, friendly disposition!