HEARING LOSS IN THE OLDER COMMUNITY

The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age. That should come as no surprise. The challenges the older population faces in regards to that hearing loss, however, might be a different story.

A primary concern audiologists face while treating their patients is reluctance. Siemens cites a study: “A new survey found that a majority or senior citizens who suffer from hearing loss choose to ignore treatment with hearing aids and are in denial about the negative effects of these decisions.”

One of the most effective ways to combat a hearing deficit is to be proactive in it’s treatment and management. Hearing loss is something that will not go away. In fact, the opposite is true. The longer hearing loss is ignored, the worse it could potentially get.

What are some ways to combat this?

An initial hearing test is the first step. If there are concerns about getting a checkup, it doesn’t even need to be an in-office test. There are simple online hearing evaluations that could alert you to a problem. And though these should never be used in lieu of a test performed by a trained professional, they can often be a good foot in the door. (We at REM Audiology wanted to meet you halfway, so we bring a hearing kiosk around to community events, trying to spread the word about hearing and the value of an up to date evaluation).

Another problem is how slowly hearing loss can sneak up on you. From hear-it.og:

“At first, you start missing high pitched sounds. Words seem too softly spoken to you. S and th-sounds become unclear as does a child’s or a woman’s voice. As your hearing loss worsens, you adapt and turn up your TV. You ask people to please repeat what they just said. Slowly but surely, frustration grows in and around you. You avoid the situations that put you on the spot, the group conversations in which you feel left out, the interactions with colleagues and relatives that often lead to shrugs of their shoulders and deep irritation. The frustration turns to embarrassment or, worse, bitterness and loneliness. In the end, you withdraw into a shell of silence.“

That’s not all, either. Hearing loss can also affect the people around you. The Hearing Review mentions a study in how the loss of your hearing inevitably involves you “communication partners”.

But there are always way to deal with hearing difficulties. Realizing your have a hearing loss is the first step A clear line of communication between you and your audiologist, and you and the people around you, is the second.