Elderly people fall victim to social isolation for many reasons… mobility issues, lack of available transportation, neglect, and yes, hearing loss. As an older person’s hearing fades she may find it increasingly difficult to use the phone, participate in group activities, enjoy local performances. At worst, he may nod and pretend to hear the doctor or nurse’s instructions, while actually missing crucial advice
When first faced with difficulty hearing your aging parent may refuse to wear a hearing aid, saying it’s too costly or seeing it as a sign of “old age”. For those reasons you might have to do a little detective work to discover how their hearing loss is leading to social isolation. The senior may gradually stop calling friends or going to their bingo games, for example, and seem bored at family gatherings.
Recognize the Signs of Elderly Hearing Loss
Reluctance to go out to restaurants or not participating in group conversations or when at noisy public events.
Accuses you or other people of mumbling
Has trouble hearing on the phone, or has stopped calling family and friends
Keeps the TV or radio on really loud!
Lots of miscommunication going on
End Social Isolation for Your Hearing Impaired Senior
Home care for seniors can range from live-in care to a few 4-hour visits per week. With companion care in place, the caregiver can accompany the elder person to their heating test, and encourage them to embrace the idea of being able to hear better.
Once they have been fitted for a hearing aid, the caregiver will be there to find and replace hearing aid batteries, remind or help them to use headphones or other hearing devices to watch TV and use the phone. It’s important to encourage social activity again, and the caregiver or home helper can also provide transportation and companionship to activities, and repeat words that weren’t heard.
> A study by the National Council on Aging found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety and more likely to languish in social isolation. That’s why it’s crucial to take elderly hearing loss seriously and put help in place to prevent a downward health spiral.
For information on elder care options and referrals to hearing centers
in Metro-West Boston, contact MinuteWomen, Inc. in Massachusetts at 1-800-Home Care.