How To Deal With Hearing Loss As You Get Older
Hearing loss is one of the most common afflictions of people as they age – approximately 20% to be exact, and going as high as 50% after the age of 65. So if your older relatives are currently struggling with their hearing, you’re not alone, and there is help at hand. There are many types of hearing loss, and many causes, but unfortunately, most tend to be degenerative, meaning that it gets worse with time.
This means that you can make provisions now to improve their hearing in the short term, but longer term it is worth looking at adapting their home and lifestyle to take it into account. Don’t despair, here are some handy tips for helping them.
Get them professional help
First things first, if you think your loved one is struggling with their hearing, it’s worth getting them booked in to see a specialist sooner rather than later. They will take a family history, check their current hearing, and suggest what you can do going forward. They will be able to speak to you both about hearing aids, and even bionic ear information if they anticipate the situation worsening.
Bionic ears refer to cochlear implants, which can help to bypass certain causes of hearing loss. They will also be able to monitor your relative’s hearing over a period of time, and hopefully, help them to slow down the degeneration.
Make home changes
When someone starts losing their hearing, their home, as it is, becomes less safe and less comfortable. For example, most smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are sound-only, meaning they emit a loud, high-pitched beeping to alert the inhabitants of danger.
For people who are hard of hearing, a light will be installed to alert them visually, and there are even adaptations to make to beds so that the bed vibrates to wake up someone who is unable to hear the alarm. Doorbells and telephones will also need adapting, but once the changes are made, their quality of life can return almost to normal at home.
Help them to stay connected
People who lose their sense of hearing can become isolated. This can exacerbate the feelings of isolation that many older people feel due to their decreased mobility. This is why it’s crucial to keep them connected to other people. Finding social groups in your area that cater to people who are hard of hearing is the best way to ensure they’re able to continue to be sociable, if they wish, with people who understand their condition, and can even help to teach them basic sign language to enable communication between members.
It is crucial that their phone is adapted to be either a video or text phone in their home, and they’re shown how to use it effectively. This is so they are able to communicate effectively not only with the emergency services, but also so they can keep in touch with friends and family.
Hearing Loss can be difficult for people as they age, and there’s a lot of pressure on their friends and family to help them to adapt, but there is help and advice when you need it.