Do you feel like you’re being cut off from communication with loved ones? Or feel exhausted or frustrated after trying to hold a conversation with someone? This is the unfortunate reality for many seniors as roughly 25 percent of people over the age of 65 experience significant hearing loss.
Hearing loss can manifest in several different ways and can often be difficult to tell if it is happening. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, it can emerge slowly over time making it difficult to tell or happen suddenly leaving you confused and frustrated. Hearing issues that are left unchecked can often get worse. If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, schedule a visit with your doctor.
Listening to music or TV at a higher-than-normal volume
Do people ever ask you, “Why is the volume so loud on your TV?” This is a very common sign of hearing loss as you’re trying to overcompensate for poor hearing by turning the volume up louder.
Ringing and pain in your ears
Do you experience dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears? You may be suffering from Tinnitus. This is a medical term that refers to the feeling of sound in one or both ears when no sound is present.
Trouble understanding speech or feeling like people are mumbling
When holding a conversation with someone, do you feel like they are mumbling or need them to repeat themselves? People with hearing loss often strain to listen to conversations, misunderstand what people are saying, have trouble understanding women and children, or struggle to hear people talking over the phone.
Avoiding public social situations
People who experience hearing loss can sometimes feel disinterested in public social settings. This comes from the struggle to hear and understand people talking with loud noises or other people talking in the background. Social situations can also make people with hearing loss feeling irritated, angry, or tired.
Not hearing sounds you used to hear
Have you ever missed a phone call or someone ringing your doorbell because you didn’t hear it? This is a common sign that you’re experiencing hearing loss. People with hearing loss often say they can’t hear the turn signal noise in a car, someone speaking to them when they’re not looking at that person, and the oven or microwave beeps.
The emotional impact of hearing loss
If you’re among the many senior citizens who experience hearing loss, you know better than most that hearing loss makes you feel left out or cut off from people. The emotional and physical toll of hearing loss can be severe and cause the following problems:
- Withdraw from social life
- Decreased personal safety
- Cognitive health issues
- Poor overall health
For Caregivers: Tips for communicating with someone with hearing loss
The following are tips that caregivers or loved ones of someone experiencing hearing loss can use while trying to communicate:
- Find a quiet place to talk.
- Stand in good lighting and use facial expressions or hand gestures to give clues.
- Face the person and speak clearly.
- Speak a little louder than normal, but don’t shout at them.
- Slow your speech down when talking.
- Don’t hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while talking.
- In a group setting, make sure only one person is speaking at a time.
- Be patient and stay positive and calm.
- Ask how you can help them with their hearing.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms of hearing loss mentioned above, schedule a doctor visit and take a hearing test. Don’t miss out on important life moments, get help to re-engage with life again. For more information on hearing loss and the quality of care provided by Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community, please call us at 202-349-3400 or visit the Care & Services section of our website.