02 Aug Older Adults and Hearing Loss
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. After the age of 85, hearing loss occurs in four out of five seniors.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is one of the most common conditions affecting seniors. However, since hearing loss begins gradually and develops over a number of years, many people do not realize they have a hearing problem.
Signs of Hearing Loss
See you health care provider if you:
- Have trouble hearing over the telephone.
- Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking.
- Often ask people to repeat what they are saying.
- Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain.
- Have a problem hearing because of background noise.
- Think that others seem to mumble.
- Can’t understand when women and children speak to you.
Seniors often accept hearing loss as a common part of aging. Furthermore, they can be reluctant or embarrassed to address the issue including wearing a hearing aid. However, it is important to see a health care provider if you think you have some loss. Recent studies from Johns Hopkins University have found a relation between hearing loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Treating hearing loss early may help lead to healthy brain function for life. Additionally, people with hearing loss tend to retreat from social situations with family and friends because it is too difficult to carry on a conversation. This can lead to isolation which can contribute to depression and anxiety.
Help for Hearing Loss
There are several types of professionals who can help you. Start with your primary care physician, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), an audiologist, or a hearing aid specialist. Each has a different type of training and expertise.
A health care provider may suggest you wear a hearing aid which will make sounds louder. It is important to start using a hearing aid as soon as one is recommended. The longer you wait, the harder it is for your brain and you to get used to wearing the device. Many providers offer a trial period to make sure the device is right for you. Medicare will cover the cost of hearing diagnostic and balance tests, if ordered by a physician, but will not cover the cost of a hearing aid device.
To further help cope with hearing loss you should:
- Let people know you have a hearing problem.
- Ask people to face you and to speak more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.
- Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.
- Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she said.
- Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.
If you or a loved one suffers from profound hearing loss and are no longer able to safely live at home please call us at Senior Living Consultants (805) 545-5901. We have a large database of senior care options. These places include: Independent Senior Living Home Communities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Assisted Living Homes, Board and Care Homes, Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Homes, Group Homes, Hospitals, and Convalescent and Skilled Nursing Homes. We will find the very best place–at NO COST to you.