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Bringing Up The Topic Of Hearing Loss With An Elderly Parent

Elderly PerspnReduced hearing in elderly people happens in both ears and affects many over 60 years of age, which makes it the most common condition to affect those over 65.

The best way to bring up hearing loss

Before openly bringing up hearing loss with an elderly parent, learning to gain emotional control is essential. People often do not feel prepared to discuss the diagnosis and struggle with knowing when, as well as how, to effectively address the situation within the family.

Just as time is taken to grasp the information and adjust to the impact, the person concerned may also need ample time to fully understand the ramifications of having a hearing loss. Keeping a positive attitude during difficult times will help them focus on what is possible and maintain motivation to seek help. The simple act of listening can help develop an understanding of how the condition affects them individually - whilst there is some commonalities between experiences, we all interpret them in our own way. The key to bringing up the subject of hearing loss with an elderly parent is to do so by suggesting and identifying those parts of their lives that are subtly changing because of their hearing loss and how those need not be the case if the problem is addressed. Often these situations include a slow decline in participation in social environments and conversations and a gradual withdrawal from attendance due to difficulties encountered. Another key is to try and address the likely reticence to acknowledge the problem which is often driven by a perception that the condition is a sign of ageing and in particular that it really only affects the very old. In fact, the on-set of hearing loss is very similar in degree and rate as the on-set of fading sight and the need for reading glasses; which is not perceived in the same way at all. The final part of the jigsaw is to obtain some independent and scientific opinion in the form of a hearing test to define the degree or presence of hearing loss.

Hearing test

Precise determination of the level of hearing loss requires an audiometric evaluation by an accredited hearing specialist, called an audiologist. There are various types of tests including bone conduction, recruitment of loudness, screening, speech discrimination, objective audiometry and clinical audiometry.

The audiogram is a painless, simple test that takes about 20 or 30 minutes. The audiologist plays tones at different volumes to find the patients’ speech reception threshold. Consequently, the patients are tested with a series of words with similar sounds to measure their speech discrimination.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (now Action on Hearing Loss) provides telephone hearing tests, which support the deaf and hearing impaired. Callers who take the test have to provide their age and gender, before being asked to identify a series of numbers through various sounds. They will then be told whether they should consult their GP for a test by a healthcare professional.

And if a hearing loss is detected then there is help at hand….

Aids from Hearing Direct to help

Hearingdirect.com is the world’s largest online hearing superstore that provides hearing aids for hard of hearing people.

Hearing Directs digital hearing aids are intended to precisely amplify sounds and deliver them to the ear. The home delivery process allows for a great product to be made at an affordable price. The hearing aids have an easily accessible battery and are small, as well as lightweight enough to hide behind the ear. They provide high quality audio so that the sounds and conversations are easily heard and understood.

The products have a pre-programmed amplification aiding mild to moderate hearing loss. As the amplification is similar through the product range, the selection can be made on the individual’s preferences in colour, design, style, features, battery life, additional buttons and volume controls. Comprehensive details on all products can be found on the website.

Image by wikimedia under cc license.

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