As you or your loved ones age, you may begin to notice some health changes. Some are common and some are very specific to the individual. Of the most common problems in seniors is hearing loss. You may notice you or your loved can’t hear as well as they used to, and it is important to recognize when there is an issue. Let’s look at some common signs of hearing loss in seniors.
Oftentimes, many other conditions are falsely attributed to a person before hearing loss is diagnosed. For example, many people believe their loved one is suffering from memory loss or depression when in reality, they just can’t hear as well as they used. Conversely, it is worth it to keep in mind that sometimes a loved one will become withdrawn or depressed when they do learn they can’t hear as well as they used to. If this type of depression occurs, try to be encouraging and offer to go to the doctor with them if needed.
Having trouble hearing over the phone
Even though someone can still hear well in person, having trouble hearing over the phone is often one of the first signs of hearing loss. You may notice that the person is asking you to repeat what you’ve said.
They may also complain that the phone signal is weak or that you are mumbling.
The TV volume is very loud
Everyone watches TV at different volumes, but seniors suffering from hearing loss may watch TV at a volume that is uncomfortable for others. Your loved one may turn the TV up so loud that it hurts other people’s ears.
Nowadays, there are many kinds of headphone sets you can buy to watch TV. It might be a good option if a senior in your home is watching the TV very loudly and it is bothering others.
Misunderstanding what people say
If you notice that your loved one has responded to your question or statement unusually, consider that they may not have heard you correctly. This is sometimes why hearing loss and memory loss are often confused. They may also complain that people are mumbling or speaking too quietly when they aren’t.
Dizziness, pain, or ringing in the ears
Pay attention if your family member or friend complains of ear pain or ringing. This is a sign of hearing loss or an ear infection that can lead to hearing loss. Frequent or prolonged pain in the ears should be checked by a doctor.
Constantly asking people to repeat themselves
When people can’t hear, they may ask you to repeat yourself excessively. Not being able to hear in loud environments is normal, but constantly asking someone to repeat themselves is usually a sign of a problem in the ears.
Above are the most common signs of hearing loss in seniors, but there are a few more:
- Change in personality
- Being antisocial
- Having trouble following a conversation
- Always straining to hear a conversation
Some people confuse signs of hearing loss in others with dementia. When someone has dementia, they can hear perfectly fine, but they are often confused. This may cause them to not know what you are saying or respond unexpectedly.
If you think your loved one may have hearing loss and/or dementia, take them to their doctor and see if any problems can be identified. If your loved one does in fact have memory issues, identifying those issues early is extremely important for future health and wellbeing.
What causes hearing loss in seniors?
Unfortunately, hearing loss in seniors is common. It is usually caused by changes in the inner ear as a natural result of aging. Loud sounds or hearing damage from when someone is younger can also cause more hearing loss in seniors as they age.
Treating and diagnosing hearing loss
Even though hearing loss is common as people age, it should still be diagnosed and treated. If there is an infection, they could end up having brain damage that originates from bacteria in the ear. It can also cause damage to the parts of the brain that deal with hearing.
Treating hearing loss can also help seniors stay social because it will make them more comfortable talking in groups. They may need to start wearing a hearing aid to hear properly.
Unused parts of the brain will naturally begin to atrophy, including the hearing sections. If someone’s brain is constantly straining to hear, it can cause them to lose focus on other things such as memory or regular thinking. They can easily go into sensory or cognitive overload.
Even if you discover their hearing loss is not treatable, it’s important to know what’s causing it so they can better adapt. Always be patient with someone who is experiencing hearing loss and try to speak loud and clearly.