Hearing loss is a common problem for older adults. Many people slowly lose their hearing as they age, and this affects about a third of adults 61 to 70 years of age, rising to over 80 percent by the age of 85. Men are generally affected worse than women.
If you or someone you know are facing hearing loss, you might wonder what you can do to help. Here are some ways you can help.
Related Blog: 5 Tips for Helping Your Parent Cope with Vision Loss
Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss comes in many forms, from mild loss to total loss. Here are some common signs to hearing loss you could be experiencing:
- Having trouble hearing over the phone
- Needing to turn up the TV volume
- Often ask people to repeat what they are saying
- Find it hard to follow conversations with multiple people
Issues Caused by Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can cause a number of issues. It can cause difficulties with communication and many older adults report symptoms of depression and isolation. Anger and denial (the latter often associated with refusal to get hearing aids) can also be an issue. Adults with hearing loss may experience fatigue from straining to hear. Some might have difficulty concentrating, or be worried about being seen as stupid or incompetent.
Hearing loss also accelerates cognitive decline and increases the risk of full-blown dementia. Treating hearing loss is thus important, and in many cases younger relatives have to encourage older adults to get assessed and treated. However, if not done correctly and carefully this can result in entrenched opposition.
How to Cope with Hearing Loss
One of the hardest things about hearing loss is that it results in a significant change to your life. Hearing aids mitigate, but do not completely fix the problems. Here are some things you can do to cope with the loss.
- Don’t hide your feelings. Hearing loss is a huge adjustment and it’s important to share your feelings with family and friends so they can help you. A good support system can make a huge difference in your journey.
- Communicate with your loved ones. It’s important to let your loved ones know how they can help you, such as facing you when you’re having a conversation or to speak a little louder. You can also ask them to eliminate extra background noises, like a TV, when having a conversation so you can have an easier time hearing them.
- Talk to your doctor. Having the conversation with your doctor may be difficult but they can help find the best solution for you. There are many different options to help with hearing loss and not everything will work best for you.
The most important thing in this process is that it takes time to find the best solutions for you. Your family, friends, and doctor want to help so it’s important to communicate with them early on in the hearing loss so they can give you the support you need.