Tips for Caregivers of People with Hearing Loss
Are you a caregiver for someone who you suspect has a hearing loss? If you are, it’s important to understand that a hearing loss, whether it’s being treated or not, comes with other implications. The hearing loss has to be factored into the equation for everyday situations, such as communicating with loved ones, doctor’s appointments, or watching TV / listening to the radio.
First, it’s important to know that hearing loss in seniors increases their risk of other health problems, both emotional and physical. Falling is a concern with all seniors, but even a mild hearing loss can increase a person’s risk of falling up to 3 times. Hearing loss can also have an impact on a person’s quality of life, as many people with a hearing loss find themselves increasingly socially withdrawn. This can lead to feelings of isolation and potentially lead to depression.
Untreated hearing loss also has an impact on cognitive function. A John Hopkins study found that age-related cognitive decline increases by as much as 30-40% in people with untreated hearing loss. As most general practitioners do not screen for hearing loss on a routine basis, it’s often caregivers that carry the responsibility of addressing concerns around an individual’s hearing health. It’s often the caregiver who will raise concerns about someone’s hearing during a regular check up with a general practitioner. It’s also often a family member who insists on making an appointment with a hearing care professional.
What should you do if you notice your loved one seems to have difficulty hearing?
We recommend making an appointment with your local hearing care professional if the person you are caring for:
- frequently asks you or others to repeat themselves
- reports that sounds are muffled
- has to set the volume on the TV far higher than they used to
- appears more withdrawn
- seems to have difficulty hearing if there is background noise
- has difficulty distinguishing certain sounds, such as “K” and “T”
In most cases, hearing loss is treatable. If you suspect a hearing loss, book in a hearing assessment as soon as possible.
Tips if someone has a hearing loss:
If you are caring for someone with a hearing loss, here are some tips to help:
- Be patient. Hearing loss can be frustrating for both people, but it’s important to be patient.
- Learn about the difficulties hearing loss presents. This will help you to empathize with the potential emotional and psychological difficulties.
- See if there are any local resources in your area for people with a hearing loss and / or their caregivers.
- Pay attention to situations that could worsen the hearing loss. These can include dangerous noise levels or in some cases, ototoxic medications.
- When communicating, face the person you are speaking to. This helps lip reading.
If the person you are caring for has to wear hearing aids, our Hearing Aid Maintenance Guide includes tips to help look after the hearing aids.
Trust the Experts at Anderson Audiology
At Anderson Audiology, we are committed to better hearing and committed to you. We would be happy to work with your loved ones to address and try to resolve challenges that you may be facing as a result of hearing loss. Contact us at Anderson Audiology and schedule an appointment today with one of our hearing professionals at one of our five convenient audiology clinic locations in southern Nevada.