“Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?!” This is a common phrase we used a few years ago when our cell phones would cut out during conversations. There were even tv commercials about it. Sometimes it still happens when we are on our phones and our communications are disrupted as we enter a dead zone, or place without a clear cell tower signal.
It’s frustrating, especially when it’s an important call. So how frustrating must it be for seniors unable to hear someone on the phone, or when a family member is talking to them about what’s happening in their life?
The caregivers I employ at Home Helpers® Clearwater often discover that the clients in their charge have some level of hearing impairment. For instance, one lady always has the tv turned up very loud in order to hear it, even though she wears a hearing aid. Her family members swear she turns it down to avoid truly listening to them! Funny, my Aunt used to claim my Uncle did that with his hearing aid, too!
Daily Caring, an award-winning senior caregiving website, says, “Hearing loss is actually the 3rd most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease (in seniors). In fact, nearly 1 in 4 people aged 65 to 74, and half of people aged 75+ have disabling hearing loss.”
Causes of Hearing Loss
Damage to the inner ear due to extremely loud noises or tissue damage can result in hearing loss. The majority of seniors, however, have gradually lost their hearing abilities due to the natural progression of aging known as presbycusis.
10 Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important that we all stop, look, and listen for signs of hearing loss in seniors. The top 12 signs of hearing loss are:
- Problems hearing while on the phone
- Difficulties following conversations with two or more people
- Turning the volume up when watching tv or listening to the radio
- Straining to understand a conversation
- Problems hearing when there are heavy background noises
- Complaints of dizziness, pain, or ringing in the ears
- Requests for people to repeat what they said
- Complaints of people mumbling or not speaking clearly
- Misunderstanding what people are saying and responding inappropriately
- Difficulties understanding when women or children talk
- Anti-social behavior and isolation
- Dementia-like confusion
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms of hearing loss, in a senior loved one, it is critical to get them to their doctor for treatment recommendations. A visit with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist may be in order, as well.
Hearing Loss and its Link to Dementia
Daily Caring shared, “Unfortunately, only 20% of people who could benefit from hearing treatment actually seek help. Most put it off until they can’t communicate even in the best listening situations.”
Further, when hearing loss goes undiagnosed and treated, it can negatively impact the area of the brain associated with hearing, leading to poor mental outcomes including depression, cognitive decline, and dementia.
Daily Caring continues, “There are 3 main theories for why hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline:
- Cognitive load – the brain is too busy trying to hear to focus on memory and thinking
- Brain atrophy – unused parts of the brain can waste away
- Social isolation – being unable to hear may cause seniors to avoid socializing.”
Please remember, if you or a senior loved one is experiencing any level of hearing loss, I strongly encourage you to speak to your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options to prevent further hearing impairment and promote a healthier quality of life, both mentally and physically!
A compassionate caregiver can provide assistance with in-home care services to make life easier and more enjoyable for the hearing impaired. I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to assess specific needs and create a customized care plan to help.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539