Hearing Loss? Take Action!

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Signals | 0 comments

 It is estimated that 33% of those who are aged 65-74 have some hearing loss: 45% of those 75 – 84 years of age, and more than 60% of people over 85.

Hearing is important to the quality of everyday living. Taking part in a conversation, receiving directions and information, and enjoying entertainment and recreation are affected when hearing is lost. 

Hearing impairment can cause us to become isolated and withdrawn: to feel “stupid” or embarrassed in everyday situations – or to become depressed.  With gradual hearing loss, the person may not be aware of the changes: others might notice first. The flip side is that with a hearing aid you can reduce the nerve deterioration that usually results from untreated hearing loss. 

Ironically, the number one reason those who need a hearing aid avoid getting one is that they think the hearing aid will make them look old, frail, or “dumb”.  The opposite is true!  Wearing a hearing aid can make you more alert, interactive, and involved.

How can you encourage someone to get a hearing test?

Some people are intimidated by the thought of having a hearing test.  Understanding the process of a hearing test may help.  

How can you help someone who’s afraid of the test results?
Some people avoid getting tested because they fear the results will confirm they have hearing loss.  But knowledge is power.  Having the test means being able to find help or the tools needed to improve the quality of hearing.  Just because you get a hearing test does not mean you have to get a hearing aid. It’s the first step to figuring out what you need and what could improve your quality of life if you need it.

How can you help someone who has hearing loss?

  • Speak slowly, clearly, facing the person, without putting your hands over your mouth
  • Lower your voice, without speaking louder. 
  • Reduce background noise/distraction.
  • There are tools to help people with hearing loss, for example, an amplifier for the telephone and headsets for television.  You can find out more about these devices from an audiologist.

Seek reliable testing. Find a qualified professional.

Visit a qualified Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Practitioner. Audiologists have a masters or doctorate degree in hearing sciences. Hearing aid practitioners have a two-year College diploma and, in most cases, significant experience with hearing loss and hearing aids. Both are regulated, and both will be able to help determine your current hearing sensitivity and whether you need amplification.

Additional Resources:

The Canadian Hearing Society

http:/?chs.ca

 

Hearing loss is not harmless.  It can lead to depression, anxiety, and social isolation. 

 

Vol.3, No.10

© ElderWise Inc. 2007.

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