Hearing Loss – Signs to look out for

October 15th, 2018

DO YOUR PARENTS SUFFER FROM HEARING LOSS?

SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PARENT/A LOVED ONE MIGHT SUFFER FROM HEARING LOSS:

  • You often have to repeat yourself and they mishear what you say.
  • They have difficulty following conversations with more than two people. They avoid certain noisy restaurants/coffee shops and social situations.
  • They have difficulty and therefore avoid talking on the phone.
  • They complain that people do not speak clearly any more.
  • The TV/radio is turned up too loud.
  • They have more difficulty hearing children’s and women’s voices.
  • Some medical conditions increase the risk of developing hearing loss in adults: family history, certain medications, suffering from diabetes, heart, thyroid or circulation problems, history of receiving cancer treatments, frequent exposure to loud sounds (noisy hobby, noisy work situations).

THE IMPACT ON SOMEONE WITH UNTREATED HEARING LOSS:

  • They are stressed, frustrated, agitated and/or fatigued, because of the strain to hear what other people are saying.
  • They withdraw from social situations they once enjoyed. Hearing loss has a negative effect on social connections.
  • Hearing difficulties may reduce quality of life through social isolation, feelings of loneliness and depression.
  • Age related hearing loss can increase the risk of developing dementia.

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PARENT/ A LOVED ONE HAS A HEARING LOSS:

TIPS TO MAKE COMMUNICATION EASIER WITH A PERSON WITH A HEARING LOSS EVEN IF THEY WEAR HEARING AIDS:

  • Get the listener’s attention first.
  • Speak slightly slower and clearer – not louder.
  • Be at a close distance from the person with the hearing loss and look at the person when speaking to them. Make sure there is good lighting on your face.
  • Rather rephrase than repeat a sentence.
  • Reduce any background noise (e.g. turn the TV off while speaking) and/or move out of a noisy environment when talking.

Remember, by treating hearing loss and fitting hearing aids, you can prevent the negative impact of hearing loss.  Hearing is a brain function – a hearing loss deprives your brain from sensory input which has negative consequences like social isolation and can increase your risk of developing dementia.  By fitting hearing aids, the brain gets the auditory stimulation it needs, and therefore you get the necessary mental and social stimulation to enjoy life.

For more information on the relationship between hearing loss and dementia visit

https://www.dementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-OtherInformation04-HearingLoss_english.pdf

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