Living With A Hearing Loss.
Mild hearing loss
What is mild hearing loss? On average, the most quiet sounds that people can hear with their better ear are between 25 and 40 dB. People who suffer from mild hearing loss have some difficulties keeping up with conversations, especially in noisy surroundings.
Moderate hearing loss
What is moderate hearing loss? On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 40 and 70 dB. People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid.
Severe hearing loss
What is severe hearing loss? On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are between 70 and 95 dB. People who suffer from severe hearing loss will benefit from powerful hearing aids, but often they rely heavily on lip-reading even when they are using hearing aids. Some also use sign language.
Profound hearing loss
What is profound hearing loss? On average, the most quiet sounds heard by people with their better ear are from 95 dB or more. People who suffer from profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading, and/or sign language.
Hearing Loss is how well you or your parent can hear other people or noise. It can come on quickly or slowly. Hearing problems are a very common issue that affects the older population between 65 and older.
In my research I find there is no explanation why we lose more of our hearing as we age. Maybe it’s loud noises over our lifetime that can slowly wear down the inside of our ears. Your genes could also play a very important role in loss of hearing.
- Does your parent have to constantly ask people to repeat themselves?
- Do they have trouble understanding what the doctor has said to the both of you?
- Does their ability to hear sounds make it hard for them to drive their car?
- Do they feel out of touch when talking on the phone?
- Do they need to have their TV volume up so loud that the other people in the household are going crazy?
- Have they stopped going to church because they are unable to hear the pastor’s message?
- Do they feel left out when they attend a family gathering and become a silent person because they have no idea what the conversations are around them?
- Do they hear others but cannot comprehend what is being said?
- Have ringing in their ears?
- Is your parent tone deaf?
Hearing impairment can be very serious.
Your first step should be to get examined by the family doctor. They may have an ear full of wax. This alone can cause them to be hard of hearing.
If the doctor recommends an ear cleaning then I suggest going to an ear doctor. I have taken my mom to her family physician and she was in there for over an hour when the nurses flushing and flushing and still didn’t get all the wax. Finally when I took her to an ear doctor we were in and out in 20 min. He sucked that wax out in seconds and we were on our way home. Mom’s ears seem to fill up quickly and can hear a little better once the wax is removed but she still has trouble hearing. I take her on a regular basis for a cleaning, it does help not plug up the hearing aid. Caring for an aging mom takes stamina.
Unable to hear can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumors, and certain medicines so don’t take this mildly. Make an appointment for your parent with their physician.
If they do have a hearing test and find that they are going deaf there are so many treatments and devices to help them that will be recommended by your local ear doctor.
You can learn to make life easier for you and your parent’s but it will take time. I find myself always forgetting to do these small little things that could help the both of us to make hearing for mom a little easier. Here are some things you can do:
- Ask your friends and family to look at them when they talk so that your parent can see their faces. If they watch their faces and see their expressions, it could help them to understand the conversation better.
- Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly. BUT trust me talking louder can become a habit. I find myself talking loud even when mom is not around because it has become a habit for me.
- Be aware of noise around the person with the hearing disorder because background noise makes it hard to hear people talk.
Working together to hear better may be tough on everyone for a while. It will take time for them to get used to watching people as they talk and for people to get used to speaking louder and more clearly. Be patient and continue to work together. Hearing better is worth the effort.
Did you know that Noise wears down hearing if it’s loud or continuous? That’s why certain occupations wear earplugs when their ears are exposed to dangerous noise levels every day like our kids and teenagers having their radios up so loud that the neighbors can hear it or the cars riding down the road beside you can feel their car vibrate. To understand the impact of noise, consider this: 44% of carpenters and 48% of plumbers report some hearing loss. Other noisy lines of work include the military, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. We need to protect the ears in our younger life.
Did you know that even musicians, who actually create music for our enjoyment, are at risk for hearing loss also? Some now wear special earplugs to protect their ears when they are performing on stage. The earplugs allow them to hear music without harming their ears’ inner workings.
Certain medications can harm ears and cause unbalance. There are many medicines that have side effects so please check with your doctor.
There are certain illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and also diabetes that interfere with the ears’ blood supply. Many things can cause hearing loss so ask your physician to explain this to you and your parent in terms that you understand.
Ear Infection or earwax can block ear canals and cause a hearing loss.
Remember that not every hearing aid is the same. Do your due diligence and research. Make sure to ask your parent’s family doctor to refer you to someone who will take their time and be patient with them. It will take time to get used to the new hearing aid.
Your loved one may need to have several fittings of their hearing aid, and you will need to get directions on how to help them use it. Hearing aids use batteries, which they will need to change on a regular basis. You may have to do it for them. They also may need repairs from time to time. Buy a hearing aid that has only the features that they need.
There are many devices that can help your parent with hearing loss. There are many products that will help them live a little better and not feel isolated. Caption telephones,alerts that help with hearing the doorbell, smoke detectors and even alarm clocks that talks to you.
There are many things you can do about a hearing loss disorder but you will have to search. I know we did. And it can be time consuming but worth it.
Check out The NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) for it maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.
There are many issues that can arise when caring for your aging father or mother. It takes a determined person to get thru the daily duties and not throw your hands up and run because there will be days you feel like giving up. Until the next page. I wish you well.