Are you noticing your loved one beginning to talk louder?
Are they asking you to repeat yourself or are they watching television at a high volume? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your loved one may be experiencing some sort of hearing loss. One-third of older adults endure a form of hearing loss, and the chance of developing hearing loss increases with age.
There are many warning signs that an individual is experiencing hearing loss. The National Institute of Aging gives examples of signs to look out for: having trouble understanding others over the telephone, asking for others to repeat themselves, finding it hard to hold a conversation when two or more people are speaking, thinking that others seem to mumble when they talk, and more.
Loss of hearing can happen to anyone, but there are a few specific causes other than aging. Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noise, a ruptured eardrum, ear infections, buildup in the ear, various health conditions, certain medications, or genetic variations. As stated before, hearing quality decreases with age, so it is important to pay attention to the older adults in your lives.
Luckily, there are ways to combat hearing loss. A hearing aid is a device that goes in or on the ear and is used to amplify sound for those with lesser hearing. In August 2022, the FDA approved over-the-counter hearing aids to be available to those with mild to moderate hearing loss. This should not only help with the cost of the device, but also the convenience of it.
Hearing aids can help improve quality of life. According to the AARP, hearing aids improve mood, increase brain power, and strengthen relationships! Hearing loss can often lead to a decline in social activity due to not wanting to go to events with noise, resulting in the isolation of the individual.
Due to the change of hearing loss increasing as you age, it is important to be able to recognize when a loved one is struggling with their hearing. They may not present to you what they are dealing with, so use the labeled warning signs to provide them with assistance and take further action.
The McGregor Foundation awarded a grant to the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center for the Senior Hearing Aid and Audiology Services program. McGregor, a nonprofit organization, is a life plan community with a legacy of more than 145 years in senior living that brings together lifelong care.
submitted: Gabrielle Carrara is a rising senior at Bowling Green State University, McGregor Marketing & Communications Intern 2023.