One-third of seniors aged 65-74 have some degree of hearing loss, and by age 75, nearly half of adults do. Surprisingly, not everyone with hearing loss realizes it. This is because hearing loss can be gradual, and many don’t realize what they’re missing out on. It’s also because most hearing loss doesn’t sound like quieter sound – it sounds like distorted or muffled sounds. It can be hard to understand the words, but some people don’t even realize they aren’t hearing correctly.
Severe hearing loss tends to impact social relationships greatly, thanks to the considerable extra effort it takes for others to ensure that you can hear them. Spouses tend to feel frustrated, and many others just tend to engage less frequently. This increases the risk of social isolation.
Hearing Aids are Most Effective When Started Early
Many people understand that hearing aids can help compensate for hearing loss, but most don’t realize that hearing aids are most effective when started as early as possible.
- It takes time for the brain to adapt to using hearing aids, and the earlier you start, the easier it is.
- Hearing loss will get worse with time when not treated. The hearing centers in the brain – the auditory cortex – will degrade without quality sounds to process. By treating hearing loss, you can actually minimize further deterioration.
Minimize Negative Impact of Hearing Loss by Starting Hearing Aids Early
Treating hearing loss early will minimize the time and extent of any negative impact on social relationships, health, safety and quality of life.
- Hearing loss is hard on social relationships, leading to social isolation and withdrawal from meaningful activity in many cases.
- Hearing loss is tied to memory decline, impaired thinking and dementia.
- People with low-frequency hearing loss may have a higher risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events.
- People with hearing loss can’t always hear telephones, smoke alarms, oncoming cars or other indicators of danger
- The act of listening with hearing loss takes more effort, and can exhaust seniors with limited energy.
- Sounds of nature, grandchildren giggling and other enjoyable sounds reduce stress and enhance mood – but only if they are heard.
Hearing Aids Aren’t Right for Everyone
As helpful as hearing aids can be for some, they aren’t the right choice for everyone.
- They are hard work for the brain to adapt to! This may be too difficult for people with dementia, significant confusion or memory loss.
- Hearing aids require maintenance, such as intermittent cleanings, changing the batteries, adjusting or keeping track of the hearing aids, which can be a challenge for people with poor eyesight or finger dexterity.
- People with severe hearing loss, or who haven’t been able to hear for a long time, are less likely to benefit from hearing aids. The brain has to work to translate auditory sounds into meaning, and if hearing loss is severe, it is more challenging. If the auditory cortex hasn’t been used in a long time it deteriorates and can’t work as well.
Home Care Support for Hearing Loss
Home care can help seniors with hearing aids, or hearing loss in a number of ways. Home care can offer transportation to the audiologist for fine tunings, special cleanings, or other needs. Home care can help manage hearing aids by changing the battery when needed, and putting them away at night. Home care aides can also provide companionship support for seniors experiencing the isolation of hearing loss.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Deerfield, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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