Hearing loss is a common issue that affects many elderly people. There are ways to combat hearing loss and help your loved one continue with their normal life. But, that does not mean that hearing loss is not inconvenient. It can be frustrating and even dangerous if your loved one cannot understand what doctors and other medical professionals say, hear alarms, or communicate with their friends and family. On this page, you can learn about hearing loss, treatment options, and how nursing homes and home health aides should handle your loved one’s hearing issues.
Your loved one might be suffering from loss of hearing if they can answer yes to one or more of the following questions:
- Do you have trouble hearing things when there is a lot of background noise?
- Is it hard to follow a conversation with multiple people talking?
- Do people tell you that you’ve turned the volume on your TV up too high?
- Do you find yourself regularly having to ask people that are speaking to you to repeat themselves?
- Is it difficult for you to hear when you’re talking on a phone?
- Do you misunderstand what people are saying when they talk to you?
Reasons for Hearing Loss
If your loved one realizes that they have a hearing problem, you should visit a doctor with experience in hearing, such as an audiologist, an otolaryngologist, or a hearing aid specialist. One of these types of doctors should diagnose the hearing issue that your loved one experiences. A few common reasons for hearing loss in the elderly include:
- Presbycusis: This is the natural process of hearing loss as you age.
- Noise induced hearing loss: This is the result of years of prolonged exposure to loud noises.
- Infections: Bacterial and viral infections can cause hearing loss.
- Head injuries.
- Strokes or heart conditions.
Your loved one’s loss of hearing can be treated in many different ways. A few common treatment options include:
- Assisted listening devices: If your loved one’s hearing issues are mild, amplifying devices for phones and closed circuit systems can be used to help your loved one hear properly.
- Hearing aids: This is a popular option for elderly people with hearing issues.
- Cochlear implants: If your loved one’s hearing issues are severe, a cochlear implant might help them hear better. This option is for people who have gone deaf.
No matter what treatment option your loved one chooses, nursing home staff members should be sensitive to hearing loss and provide additional treatment. If your loved one has a hearing aid, the nursing home staff should gently remind your loved one to wear it. It should also be cleaned and charged properly so that it works. Your loved one should never have to feel inferior due to hearing problems, so it is important that staff members treat them with respect. If your loved one’s hearing loss does not get treated properly in a nursing home, you should contact an attorney.