Living Safely at Home With Hearing Loss

Hearing loss, which affects about one-third of older adults, can make life difficult for seniors as well as their caregivers and family members. Some with hearing loss often feel isolated and confused, while their family and friends may tire of repeating themselves or even feel like their loved one is ignoring them.

If you or your loved one experiences signs of diminished hearing, such as difficulty understanding a conversation, muffled speech or mumbling, withdrawal from conversation, or unexplained anger or embarrassment, schedule an appointment with a doctor for a hearing test. But do not be alarmed — we have many options today for coping with hearing loss and making daily life easier for seniors and their caregivers.



5 ways to live with hearing loss at home

1. Start by making easy, no-cost adjustments to communicate more easily.
  • Turn off background noise that can interfere with a conversation, such as a television or radio
  • Position yourself for better hearing, facing the person you’re conversing with and asking her to face you.
  • Ask others to speak clearly but not to shout. Most people are helpful if they know you’re having a hard time hearing them.

2. Enhance quality of life with hearing aids. For mild to moderately severe hearing loss, hearing aids can be an affordable, comfortable solution. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Would you be more comfortable with an over-the-ear or an in-the-canal design?
  • Does the model you’re considering offer features like adaptive feedback cancellation and noise reduction?
  • Does it use high-quality components? Read user reviews of the models you’re considering.
  • Is there a trial period with a money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty?

3. Keep communication open with an amplified telephone. Look for models specially designed for those with hearing or vision loss, which may include powerful amplification of talking caller ID and voice calls. Some models even offer extra features such as a wearable pendant for answering calls without getting up. Consider the following:
  • Is there a monthly monitoring fee?
  • Is there a trial period with a money-back guarantee?
  • What kind of manufacturer’s warranty is available?

4. Consider other assisted listening or alerting devices. Options include:
  • Personal listening systems that connect to electronics such as a TV or radio.
  • Alerting devices that use lights or vibrations to indicate a doorbell or telephone.
  • Television closed-captioning, which allows the viewer to read the words at the bottom of the screen.
  • A text telephone, sometimes called TTY or TDD, where the user types messages rather than trying to listen to phone conversations.

5. Learn how to talk with someone who has hearing loss. Try the following tips to increase understanding and make your loved one feel involved in the conversation.
  • Position yourself to be heard. Position yourself so light is on your face for better visibility, which can lead to easier understanding. Get the person’s attention before you start talking. Talk into the individual’s good ear if that’s a factor.
  • Speak slowly, and use facial expressions and body language to assist in understanding.
  • Watch for misunderstanding, such as replies that don’t make sense. Repeat what you said with different words or ask the person to repeat what he heard.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question, or for one-on-one help with wound care products, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.

Sources: Caring.com: Hearing Loss; Mayo Clinic: Hearing Loss Coping and Support; WebMD: Living With Hearing Loss; Hear-It.org: Good Advice for Conversations

5 comments:

Piles auditives said...

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hearing solutions said...

These are great tips to enhance communication among family members who have hearing loss. It is important to communicate with them in order to give them their emotional needs. It is hard to communicate with deaf people but it will be easier if you know how to adjust with their disability.

The CareGiver Partnership said...

Its sad at nursing homes (skilled nursing or long term care facilities) when you see the residents dining and no one is talking because they can't hear.

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viren mishra said...

it was very informative about that amplified telephone things loved to read it

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